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The 2020 Election Is Back In Court, As Dominion Sues Conservative Media Outlets

One America News Network reporter Chanel Rion asks a question at a briefing for reporters at the White House on May 22, 2020.
Alex Brandon
One America News Network reporter Chanel Rion asks a question at a briefing for reporters at the White House on May 22, 2020.

Dominion Voting Systems has filed billion-dollar lawsuits against two conservative television networks for their alleged spread of misinformation during the 2020 election, the company's latest move in an ongoing legal battle.

In a series of lawsuits filed Tuesday, the voting tech company accused right-wing networks Newsmaxand One America News Network of spreading misinformation about the 2020 election by accusing Dominion of rigging the ballots in President Biden's favor via their voting machines. These lies have harmed the company, its employees and its customers; workers have been threatened, their offices vandalized, and the company has had to spend upwards of $600,000 on security for employees, the suit alleges.

Among other claims, OAN and Newsmax alleged that the Dominion voting machines, which were used in 28 states, deleted millions of votes for Donald Trump — a claim that has "no basis in fact or reality," the suits state.

Newsmax and OAN "knowingly and continuously sold the false story of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election with Dominion cast as the villain," a representative for Dominion told reporters this week.

The suits also name OAN CEO Robert Herring as well as his son, OAN President Charles Herring; the chief White House correspondent for OAN, Chanel Rion; and a network personality, Christina Bobb. Dominion has also sued Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock; he appeared often on OAN and was interviewed as an "expert," but similarly spread misinformation about Dominion and the 2020 election, the suits allege.

Dominion is suing Newsmax, OAN and Byrne for a minimum of $1.6 billion each.

OAN did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but in a statement issued to NPR, a representative for Newsmax said that they have not yet reviewed the lawsuits but defended their reporting. While covering the 2020 election, Newsmax "simply reported on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the President, his advisors and members of Congress," their statement reads.

"Dominion's action today is a clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press," they continued.

Tuesday's suit is one of several Dominion has filed since the election. In March, the company sued Fox News Network for defamation to the tune of $1.6 billion. Dominion has also taken legal action against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, as well as former Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: August 10, 2021 at 11:00 PM CDT
A previous version of this story said Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 million defamation suit against Fox Network in March. In fact, Dominion was seeking $1.6 billion.
Sharon Pruitt-Young