Dominion Voting Systems hits conservative networks, Trump ally with $1.6 billion defamation suits

The voting machine company filed suits against Newsmax, OAN, and Patrick Byrne.

August 10, 2021, 2:27 PM

Dominion Voting Systems on Tuesday morning filed three $1.6 billion defamation lawsuits against two pro-Trump media networks and an outspoken Trump ally, the latest in a string of suits from the company against those it says pushed false accusations that the company helped rig the 2020 election.

The complaints were filed against Newsmax and One America News Network, as well as against former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, who is an outspoken supporter of the former president.

Newsmax and OAN "helped create and cultivate an alternate reality where up is down, pigs have wings, and Dominion engaged in a colossal fraud to steal the presidency from Donald Trump by rigging the vote," Dominion wrote in each of its complaints against the two networks.

Specifically, Dominion alleges that the two networks "manufactured, endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies about Dominion." OAN, they allege, was motivated by a "quest for profits and viewers" in competition with leading conservative network Fox News. They say both outlets helped spread these lies by promoting other figures such as Byrne, who they say "pushed lies" in collaboration with "other Trump-connected individuals.

The Newsmax logo is seen on an iPhone screen in Kumamoto, Japan, Mar 12, 2021.
Koshiro K. via Shutterstock

"Byrne continues to stick to his manufactured, inherently improbable, profitable, and demonstrable lies," the complaint against him says.

The complaints include dozens of statements by the networks and Byrne repeating conspiracy theories about the company, and claiming "evidence" to back them up.

A Newsmax spokesperson said in a statement, "While Newsmax has not reviewed the Dominion filing, in its coverage of the 2020 Presidential elections, Newsmax simply reported on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the President, his advisors and members of Congress -- Dominion's action today is a clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press."

Earlier this year, however, Newsmax retracted some its reporting surrounding the 2020 election as part of a settlement after it was sued by a Dominion employee last year. Referring to allegations that Dominion had schemed to rig the election in favor of President Joe Biden, the network reported that it "subsequently found no evidence that such allegations were true."

"Between the imminent release of the Maricopa Audit, and Mike Lindell's current activities in South Dakota, Dominion Voting is about to have a very difficult week," a spokesman for Byrne said in a statement in response to the lawsuit. "They are simply doing this as a distraction."

OAN did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

A worker passes a Dominion Voting ballot scanner while setting up a polling location at an elementary school in Gwinnett County, Ga., outside of Atlanta, Jan. 4, 2021.
Ben Gray/AP, FILE

Dominion's latest complaints were filed in Delaware by the Denver-based voting company, which became the subject of false far-reaching conspiracy theories fueled largely by right-wing figures close to then-President Donald Trump as part of efforts to overturn the results of the election

Dominion has in recent months filed similar billion-dollar defamation suits against other Trump allies for what the company said was their role in pushing the false allegations, including Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney; Sidney Powell, a member of the Trump's legal team who was later removed; and Mike Lindell, the Trump-aligned pillow magnate.

All of those parties have denied the allegations against them and have asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuits. Those motions are still pending.

The litigation comes amid a wave of renewed scrutiny of the 2020 election results, as Democrats in Congress have ramped up their investigation into the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 by Trump supporters who believed the election was tainted by fraud, while Republicans in some states have renewed calls for additional audits of the 2020 returns.

After pushing baseless allegations of election fraud, Byrne was one of the key figures who helped fund a partisan audit of the 2020 election in Arizona's Maricopa County, ABC News has previously reported.

Byrne, who previously said he'd been funding his own team of "hackers and cybersleuths and other people with odd skills" to search for voter fraud, has so far raised over $1.5 million to support the audit, according to the website created by his new nonprofit organization, The America Project. The former CEO also claims to have donated at least $500,000 of his own money to fund the audit.

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