On November 3rd, Smartmatic, an election technology company, sued One America News Network (OANN) and Newsmax for defamation over claims related to the 2020 presidential election. The lawsuits, filed against OANN in Washington D.C. and against Newsmax in Delaware, allege that the conservative news organizations aired dozens of reports accusing Smartmatic of participating in a conspiracy to rig the election against Donald Trump.
In a motion submitted on Monday, Powell’s lawyers argue that her statements are not actionable under defamation law because she made them as an advocate-attorney of Donald Trump. Dean of Missouri Law School Lyrissa Lidsky called this argument absurd: "Attorneys have ethical obligations not to lie, and she made the false statements in her capacity as an attorney."
Fox’s lawyers argue that they had a First Amendment privilege to report newsworthy allegations–even false ones–in a neutral way. They also claim that Smartmatic failed to establish a key requirement of a defamation claim—that Piro, Dobbs, and Bartiromo acted with “actual malice.”
Smartmatic claims Fox spread lies about the company it knew weren't true in order to curry favor with then-President Trump and his base. The company expects it will lose almost $500 million in the next five years due to the impact the lies have had on its business.
On January 25th, Dominion Voting System sued Donald Trump’s former attorney and former mayor of New York City Rudy Guiliani for defamation. The 107-page complaint filed in the United District Court for the District of Columbia accuses Guiliani of carrying out a “viral disinformation campaign” against the voting systems company, and having “deceived millions of people into believing that Dominion had stolen their votes and fixed the election.”
On January 8th, Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the suit alleges that during a press conference, rally, and media appearances, Powell “falsely claimed that Dominion had rigged the election, that Dominion was created in Venezuela rig elections for Hugo Chavez, and that Dominion bribed Georgia officials for a no-bid contract.”
On December 22nd, Eric Coomer, the Director of Product Strategy and Security for Dominion Voting Systems, filed a suit against President Donald Trump’s campaign, podcast host Joseph Oltmann, Trump’s personal lawyers Rudy Guiliani and Sidney Powell, conservative news outlets One American News Network (OANN) and Newsmax, and others, for defamation and inflicting emotional distress.
From the moment the 2020 presidential election was called in favor of Joe Biden, three prominent conservative cable companies, Fox News, One America News Network (OANN), and Newsmax have repeatedly questioned the accuracy of the results. Now Smartmatic, a voting technology company, is threatening to sue the networks for false claims they published or republished about its product.