Election and voting technology company Smartmatic announced Wednesday that it has filed separate defamation lawsuits against Newsmax Media, as well as Herring Networks, parent company of One America News Network. Smartmatic says it is seeking “actual and punitive damages as a result of the disinformation campaigns conducted by Newsmax and OANN against Smartmatic” following the 2020 presidential election. The complaints were filed in Superior Court of the State of Delaware and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for Newsmax and OANN, respectively.
Coming on the one-year anniversary of the election, Smartmatic says that the defendants knowingly and deliberately spread “a continuous stream of falsehoods that harmed Smartmatic and negatively impacted the company’s business.”
Smartmatic attorney J. Erik Connolly said in a statement: “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.”
Following the 2020 presidential election, Smartmatic alleges that the defendants and others repeatedly published reports claiming that the company and its software altered votes to ensure President Biden won.
“OANN knew that the statements and implications that it made about Smartmatic were false and/or it acted with reckless disregard regarding whether its statements and implications were true,” the claim against OANN states. “OANN did not care about making truthful statements about Smartmatic. OANN was motivated to tell a false story about how Smartmatic fixed, rigged and stole the 2020 U.S. election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”
Wednesday’s filing against Newsmax states, in part: “What Newsmax said about Smartmatic was fake but the damage it caused to Smartmatic is real.”
Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica added: “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. The global repercussions for our company cannot be overstated.”
Newsmax put out a statement in response to Smartmatic’s lawsuit: “While Newsmax has yet to receive or review the Smartmatic filing, Newsmax reported accurately on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the President, his advisors and members of Congress, as well as reporting on Smartmatic’s claims in its defense. Smartmatic’s action against Newsmax today is a clear attempt to squelch the rights of a free press. Newsmax may have additional comment on the suit later.”
Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News and Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo back in February, alleging the network’s personalities ran “a disinformation campaign” against the company. The network and its hosts eventually filed a motion to dismiss the defamation lawsuit, arguing their coverage of then-President Trump’s false allegations of election fraud following the 2020 election was protected under the First Amendment, and that the lawsuit was an attempt to “chill” free speech.