Voting software company sues Newsmax and OAN over false election reporting
Voting software company Smartmatic filed defamation suits Wednesday against right-wing TV channels Newsmax and One America News for falsely claiming the firm was involved in rigging the 2020 presidential election in favor of President Biden.
The suits allege that Smartmatic’s business was hurt by the statements made on the channels in the months following the Nov. 3 election that saw Joe Biden defeat incumbent Donald Trump. The company is asking for jury trials for both suits to determine monetary damages.
The Boca Raton, Fla.-based Newsmax and San Diego-based OAN repeatedly aired claims that Smartmatic and its software altered votes to ensure Biden’s victory.
Smartmatic’s technology and services were used only in Los Angeles County during the 2020 election and not in any of the swing states that decided the presidential contest.
The suits say the channels’ reporting also included false claims that Smartmatic is a Venezuelan company controlled by corrupt dictators. The company has U.S. headquarters in Boca Raton; its worldwide HQ is in London.
“The damage to Smartmatic from this parallel universe of lies and disinformation has reverberated across the United States and in dozens of countries around the world,” said Smartmatic chief executive Antonio Mugica in a statement. “The global repercussions for our company cannot be overstated.”
Here’s a look at how the emerging right-wing TV channel covered the transition of power.
Smartmatic’s lawsuits allege that the channels promoted lies about the company and its role in the election purely to boost their ratings. Newsmax and OAN have emerged in recent years as competitors for the conservative viewers who tune in to Fox News, the ratings leader in cable news. Both gave significant airtime to Trump’s lawyers, allies and representatives who spread doubts about the election results.
“Despite claims to provide viewers with honest, unbiased reporting, these outlets victimized Smartmatic by spreading false information about the company following last year’s election, all in their efforts to increase viewership and revenue,” J. Erik Connolly, an attorney for Smartmatic, said in a statement.
A representative for Newsmax said the company has yet to receive the court filing but defended its reporting.
“Newsmax reported accurately on allegations made by well-known public figures, including (Trump), his advisors and members of Congress, as well as reporting on Smartmatic’s claims in its defense,” the representative said in a statement. “Smartmatic’s action against Newsmax today is a clear attempt to squelch the rights of a free press.”
OAN did not respond to a request for comment.
Smartmatic previously filed a $2.7 billion defamation against Fox News claiming that its hosts spread false news about the company during its coverage of alleged voter fraud during the election. Attorneys Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who led Trump’s legal efforts to overturn the results of the election, also are defendants in that suit.
Fox News is awaiting a ruling on its motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
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