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Smartmatic, OANN Reach Settlement      04/17 06:27


   WASHINGTON (AP) -- A voting technology company targeted by bogus fraud 
claims related to the 2020 presidential election settled a defamation lawsuit 
Tuesday against a conservative news outlet.

   The settlement between Florida-based Smartmatic and One America News Network 
is the latest development in a larger legal pushback by voting equipment 
companies that became ensnared in wild conspiracy theories falsely claiming 
they had flipped votes and cost former President Donald Trump reelection.

   In a statement, the company said it had "resolved its litigation with OANN 
through a confidential settlement." The dismissal of its lawsuit was filed in 
federal court in the District of Columbia. Chip Babcock, a Houston-based 
attorney representing the news outlet, confirmed the case had been resolved but 
said he was unable to disclose any of the settlement terms.

   Smartmatic was an odd target for the conspiracy theorists because use of its 
voting technology and software was so limited. It was used only in Los Angeles 
County, a Democratic stronghold in a state that was not a presidential 
battleground and where Trump did not contest his loss.

   But the company has for years also provided voting services in Venezuela, 
and that created a springboard for phony claims that a foreign company was 
involved in a vast conspiracy to flip the election from Trump to Democrat Joe 
Biden. Smartmatic also has active lawsuits against Fox News and the 
conservative outlet Newsmax over similar complaints. Fox has said it had a 
First Amendment right to air claims about an election that were being promoted 
by prominent figures.

   Last year, on the eve of a trial, Fox News agreed to pay $787 million to 
settle a defamation lawsuit filed by a much larger voting technology company, 
Dominion Voting Systems, which claimed the network and its hosts spread false 
claims that its equipment helped rig the election against Trump. Dominion has 
other defamation lawsuits that remain active, including one against One America 
News Network.

   The conspiracy theories relating to voting equipment and software are among 
the lies about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election won by Biden. 
Numerous reviews, audits and recounts in the presidential swing states where 
Trump contested his loss have affirmed Biden's victory, and there has been no 
evidence of widespread fraud. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential 
nominee, is facing federal and state charges related to his attempts to 
overturn the results.

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