Smartmatic and OAN Settle Defamation Suit

The voting technology company Smartmatic reached a settlement on Tuesday in its defamation lawsuit against One America News Network, a far-right broadcaster, over the amplification of election falsehoods about the 2020 presidential election.

Lawyers for both parties confirmed in emailed statements that there was a confidential settlement.

Smartmatic filed the lawsuit in 2021, accusing OAN of airing baseless claims that Smartmatic had been involved in rigging the presidential election through its voting machines. On Tuesday, a filing for a dismissal of the case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be retried, was submitted by Smartmatic’s lawyers to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

OAN was one of several right-wing cable networks that broadcast conspiracy theories pushed by supporters of former President Donald J. Trump in the wake of his defeat in 2020, including claiming without evidence that vote tallies in critical states had been tampered with in order to help President Biden win.

In its original complaint, Smartmatic said that it had been a victim of the network’s “decision to increase its viewership and influence by spreading disinformation” as it attempted to siphon off viewers from Fox News. OAN repeatedly linked Smartmatic to a nationwide vote-rigging conspiracy, the complaint said, despite knowing there was no evidence and that Smartmatic’s technology and software had been used only in Los Angeles County during the election.

OAN, which was started by Herring Networks in 2013 and is a strong supporter of Mr. Trump, was dropped by DirecTV and Verizon Fios in 2022 and is no longer available on any major carriers.

While this case has concluded, there are numerous ongoing lawsuits filed by Smartmatic and another election technology company, Dominion Voting Systems, against conservative news outlets over their 2020 election coverage.

OAN still faces a defamation lawsuit from Dominion. It settled a separate lawsuit in September brought against the network by Eric Coomer, a former Dominion executive.

Last April, Fox News agreed to pay $787.5 million to Dominion to settle a defamation suit over the broadcasting of similar conspiracy theories. The last-minute settlement, believed to be the biggest ever in a defamation case, came on the day a trial was set to begin.

In 2021, Smartmatic sued Fox News in New York State Supreme Court, seeking at least $2.7 billion in damages. That case is not expected to go to trial until 2025. Fox News has filed a counterclaim accusing Smartmatic of a frivolous lawsuit designed to suppress free speech.

Smartmatic and Dominion have separate lawsuits against the outlet Newsmax, accusing it of repeatedly airing the baseless vote-rigging claims. Both cases are expected to go to trial in September in Delaware Superior Court, where they will be overseen by Judge Eric Davis, who presided over the Dominion v. Fox News trial last year.