Newsmax accused of "evidence destruction" in lawsuit over 2020 election lies

Smartmatic is suing the right-wing network over false claims that its voting machines were rigged

Published May 22, 2024 11:15AM (EDT)

The Newsmax logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The Newsmax logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Smartmatic, the firm that produced voting machines for the 2020 election, is accusing Newsmax of destroying key evidence in their ongoing defamation lawsuit against the right-wing network for claiming that Smartmatic helped "rig" the votes for Joe Biden, NBC News reports.

In a court filing, Smartmatic's lawyers allege that Newsmax deleted emails and texts between high-ranking executives that would have incriminated them as making those claims for viewership and profit, despite knowing that they were untrue. Smartmatic says that the deletions occurred even after the right-wing news outlet was ordered by the court to preserve evidence.

Newsmax said it "categorically denies" the accusation, which they have characterized as an attempt by Smartmatic to distract from in an alleged bribery scheme involving an election official in the Philippines.

The trial at the Delaware Superior Court is scheduled to begin in September.

Smartmatic's filing refers to a series of text exchanges between Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy and Trump attorney Sidney Powell, who frequently appeared on Newsmax to falsely accuse Smartmatic of enabling voter fraud. Smartmatic says that although Ruddy deleted the texts from his phone, other witnesses retained the evidence and submitted it to the plaintiffs.

“Newsmax’s misconduct goes beyond falsely accusing Smartmatic of rigging the U.S. election; it also attempted to conceal evidence of its actions and failed to follow its own journalistic standards," Smartmatic attorney J. Erik Connolly said in a statement, as reported by NBC. "Smartmatic’s motion details numerous instances of evidence destruction, including incriminating emails and texts from Newsmax executives, indicating intentional spoliation.”

The lawsuit is one of several cases filed by Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems against media organizations and individuals for parroting Donald Trump's false narrative of a stolen election. In 2023, Fox News paid Dominion a settlement of $787.5 million just before opening arguments were due, leaving One America News Network, Newsmax, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Lindell, and Powell on its docket. Smartmatic settled with OANN earlier this year, but Newsmax, Fox, and the three Trump-aligned individuals appear content for now to take the case to court.

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