Voting systems company Smartmatic is suing conservative media network One America News (OAN) and new evidence shows a direct connection to former President Donald Trump.
According to a report by CNN, an email exchange dated January 8, 2021, between OAN president Charles Herring and Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, who is also being sued by Smartmatic as well as other individuals tied to Trump for spreading misinformation about the 2020 election, purportedly contained a spreadsheet full of passwords for employees of Smartmatic.
The court records don’t reveal how OAN obtained the spreadsheet; according to CNN, lawyers for Smartmatic alleged the possession of the information means OAN executives “may have engaged in criminal activities” by “appear[ing] to have violated state and federal laws regarding data privacy.”
While Smartmatic’s public filings didn’t identify the sender or recipient of the email, court records from a separate 2020-related lawsuit confirm that Herring and Powell exchanged emails on the same date. The pair’s communications about the purported Smartmatic spreadsheet, which have not been previously reported, resurrect questions that have dogged OAN for years regarding its tendency to blur the lines between opinion journalism and brazen political advocacy.
Smartmatic is seeking billions of dollars in damages from OAN and Fox News after the networks falsely claimed that the company flipped votes during the 2020 election.
Last year, Dominion Voting Systems won nearly $800 million in its similar defamation suit against Fox News.