Former United States President Donald Trump’s failed bid for the White House in 2020 and his baseless claims that he lost the race to voter fraud continue to cast a legal shadow over the nation.
On Tuesday, Dominion Voting Systems Corp, one of the US’s largest makers of voting machines, sued conservative US news outlets One America News Network and Newsmax Media Inc — as well as the former CEO of Overstock.com — in relation to the 2020 presidential election.
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Dominion alleges that the two right-leaning cable news outlets and Patrick Byrne, the founder and former CEO of Overstock.com, defamed the company by falsely claiming that it rigged the election against Trump by switching votes to President Joe Biden.
Dominion is seeking more than $1.6bn in damages from three separate lawsuits, citing lost profits and other damages.
The suits are the latest legal actions taken by Denver-based Dominion in relation to the 2020 presidential race. The company has also slapped defamation suits on conservative news network Fox News, as well as Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow Inc, former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and former Trump campaign manager Sidney Powell.
News outlets and individuals sued by Dominion for defamation have invoked First Amendment rights to free speech in their defence.
In a statement reported by Reuters News Agency, Newsmax said: “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.”
Legal representatives for Fox News said in a court filing in May that news outlets “must be able to report both sides of a story involving claims striking at the core of our democracy”.
In April, Newsmax apologised to then Dominion employee, Eric Coomer, for alleging without proof that he had individually rigged the ballot counts against Trump. Coomer subsequently dropped Newsmax from a defamation lawsuit he had filed.
Though state and federal officials have found no evidence of voter fraud, Trump continues to falsely claim that the election was stolen from him.