Smartmatic and OANN settle lawsuit over 2020 coverage

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The voting technology company Smartmatic agreed Tuesday to settle its lawsuit against the conservative cable television network One America News over its coverage of the 2020 election.

The terms of the settlement, including any compensation involved, were not announced.

“Smartmatic has resolved its litigation against OANN through a confidential settlement,” Smartmatic’s lead attorney, J. Erik Connolly, said in a written statement. Charles L. Babcock, an attorney representing OANN, confirmed the case was settled but provided no further details.

The case against OANN, filed in November 2021, was part of a slew of lawsuits aimed at right-leaning television networks that aired unproven or disproven allegations of voting fraud by attorneys associated with Donald Trump.

Smartmatic, headquartered in Florida, also sued Fox News Channel — for $2.7 billion — and Newsmax; both of those cases are ongoing, according to court dockets. The voting company’s suit noted that its involvement in the 2020 election was extremely limited, with its technology only being used in Los Angeles County. Pro-Trump advisers and media figures had suggested Smartmatic meddled in the election nationwide.

“OANN knew its assertions about Smartmatic were not true,” the lawsuit said. “OANN had seen no evidence to support the assertions. But OANN chose to spread disinformation.”

As in its other lawsuits against media companies, Smartmatic alleged that OANN’s coverage damaged its reputation and caused long-lasting financial harm. The company charged that OANN made false claims connecting it to voter fraud allegations in a bid to boost ratings.

OANN, owned by Herring Networks, had denied that Smartmatic’s allegations had any merit, and countered that its on-air personalities were merely covering a newsworthy election.

While OANN has a significantly smaller viewership than Fox News, the network is still influential in conservative political circles. The network had been viewable in 35 million homes, but that reach diminished after cable companies DirecTV and Verizon Fios dumped the network in 2022.

Dominion Voting Systems settled its case against Fox News in April 2023 for a staggering $787.5 million. Dominion has also sued Newsmax; that case is expected to go to trial this fall.

In recent months, Fox News and Smartmatic have been locked in arguments over issues related to the handing over of sensitive internal emails and documents. Both parties are required to finish that process, along with the interviews of both company officials and industry experts, this summer, with a 2025 trial date expected.

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