- Smartmatic has sued One America News in Washington, DC for defamation of election conspiracy theories.
- OAN argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because it is based in California, not DC.
- A federal judge in DC gave the green light to the case, saying OAN does not understand jurisdictional laws.
A federal judge on Tuesday gave the green light to Smartmatic’s libel suit against One America News, a right-wing media organization that it claims has pushed conspiracy theories about the election tech company’s role in the 2020 presidential election.
Smartmatic filed the lawsuit in Washington, DC in November, alleging that OAN had damaged the company’s reputation. Smartmatic and Dominion, a rival election technology company, have both been subject to conspiracy theories that claim they manipulated the election against then-President Donald Trump and in favor of current President Joe Biden.
Herring Networks, which operates OAN, asked U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that he had no jurisdiction over the case because the company is headquartered in California.
In a short, 11-page opinion, Nichols said this is not how the law works. OAN operates a studio in Washington, DC, and broadcasts throughout the district, giving jurisdiction to the DC courts, Nichols wrote.
“Yes, but if OAN had rented television production studios and office space, advertised its programs and promoted its network to guests, OAN’s allegedly false and defamatory statements would not have made it onto the air,” Nichols wrote.
According to Smartmatic’s lawsuit, OAN defamed the election technology company through its own hosts by spreading election conspiracy theories, avoiding factual information about the election, and broadcasting “docu-films” of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who is a separate set of conspiracy theories. about Smartmatic and rival election technology company Dominion Voting Systems, falsely claim that their machines have been hacked by Chinese authorities.
In reality, Smartmatic operated in only one province for the 2020 elections, and there is no evidence that neither it nor Dominion manipulated the voting results.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, CISA, released a statement on November 12, 2020, saying the election was the safest in U.S. history.
Representatives of Herring Networks did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Smartmatic’s lawsuit against OAN is just one of several defamation lawsuits it and Dominion have filed against media organizations and people over election conspiracy theories.