Smartmatic Accuses Newsmax Of 'Cover-Up' In Lawsuit Over 2020 Election Lies

Smartmatic has accused Newsmax of taking part in a “cover-up” by destroying key evidence at the heart of the voting software company’s defamation case against the network over its 2020 election coverage, according to court documents reviewed Tuesday by NBC News.

The company said Newsmax destroyed emails and texts from its top executives that could show that the network was knowingly spreading false claims by former President Donald Trump and his allies about the results of the 2020 presidential race after they had notified the network to preserve evidence ahead of upcoming legal action.

Specifically, in the filing, Smartmatic references text messages by Chris Ruddy, the network’s chief executive, which it say it was able to obtain through other witnesses but had been erased from Ruddy’s devices. In those texts, Ruddy mentioned Sidney Powell, one of the lawyers who led Trump’s effort to undo the 2020 presidential election and who was a frequent guest on the channel.

J. Erik Connolly, a lawyer representing Smartmatic, told NBC News they had identified several examples of evidence destruction “indicating intentional spoliation.”

“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,” Connolly added.

But Newsmax contests the claims, saying Smartmatic is simply trying to divert attention from a bribery scheme it was allegedly involved in in the Philippines.

“Newsmax categorically denies Smartmatic’s allegations, which are intended only to distract from Smartmatic’s own misconduct, which includes Department of Justice claims it paid Philippine officials $4 million in bribes to be awarded election contracts there,” the network said in a statement to HuffPost.

Smartmatic has pushed back against the allegations of wrongdoing overseas.

Smartmatic sued Newsmax in November 2021, alleging the right-wing network knowingly “published and/or republished false statements and implications during news broadcasts, in online reports, and on social media that Smartmatic participated in a criminal conspiracy to fix, rig, and steal the 2020 U.S. election.”

Newsmax has denied wrongdoing.

Notably, Smartmatic’s software was used only in Los Angeles County during the 2020 U.S. election.

The case is scheduled to go on trial in September.

Smartmatic also has a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News. Meanwhile, the conservative network is pursuing a counterclaim against the voting software company, claiming the damages demand is so large it is intended to suppress free speech.

Dominion Voting Systems reached a $787.5 million settlement with Fox News in April 2023 in its defamation suit against the network.

Last month, Smartmatic settled a defamation lawsuit against One America News Network.