Newsmax counters suing Smartmatic, expanding fight against election fraud allegations in the United States

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WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Right-wing U.S. television broadcaster Newsmax Media Inc on Monday sued Smartmatic Corp, an election security firm that claims it was defamed by Newsmax’s coverage of the 2020 presidential election.

Smartmatic sued Newsmax in November for amplifying false claims that Smartmatic voting machines rigged the election against then-President Donald Trump, who persists in falsely claiming his defeat was the result of fraud .

In a response filed in Delaware state court, San Diego-based Newsmax denied defaming Smartmatic and claimed the election software company was trying to censor free speech and intimidate a critic.

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“Smartmatic’s action against Newsmax arose out of and arose out of Newsmax’s exercise of its right to freedom of expression in relation to matters of public interest,” Newsmax’s attorneys said in the filing.

A spokesperson for Smartmatic did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Newsmax’s counterclaim has little merit, said Jessica Levinson, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles who is not involved in the case.

Smartmatic has a strong defamation case that should go to trial, Levinson added.

“The potential irony here is that if anyone tries to chill free speech, you could say it’s Newsmax,” Levinson said.

Smartmatic, with US headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., also sued Fox News, a subsidiary of Fox Corp , and One America News Network in February over their election coverage.

Another voting machine company, Dominion Voting Systems Corp, has filed similar lawsuits. Like Smartmatic, Dominion is seeking billions of dollars in damages.

The networks said they reported on matters of public interest and that their reporting is protected by the free speech protections of the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

Fox News asked a New York state court judge to dismiss Smartmatic’s lawsuit. The judge has not yet ruled on the request.

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Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Berkrot

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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