A Delaware judge has ruled that a defamation lawsuit against Newsmax filed by Dominion Voting Systems can proceed. Judge Eric Davis denied a motion from Newsmax in the Superior Court to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the network “knew the allegations were probably false” about the voting technology and “there were enough signs indicating the statements were not true to infer Newsmax’s intent to avoid the truth.”
The Hill reports:
“Given that Newsmax apparently refused to report contrary evidence, including evidence from the Department of Justice, the allegations support the reasonable inference that Newsmax intended to keep Dominion’s side of the story out of the mainstream,” Davis wrote in his opinion.
In August, Dominion filed lawsuits against Newsmax and One America News, as well as Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock.com, alleging defamation.
In a statement to The Hill after the lawsuit was filed in August, Newsmax said Dominion’s defamation suit was a “clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press.”
Dominion Voting Systems said that while Newsmax ratings spiked 145 percent in December 2020 compared to 2019, Dominion was negatively impacted. The company said it had to spend $600,000 on private security because of threats and another $700,000 combating the disinformation claims.
Defamation suits are required to prove “actual malice” meaning someone intentionally spread claims they knew were false or spread them “with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”
Newsmax argues they were defended by a legal doctrine that allows journalists to report on newsworthy allegations by individuals, however, Judge Davis disagreed.
“The Complaint supports the reasonable inference that Newsmax either knew its statements about Dominion’s role in the election fraud were false or had a high degree of awareness that they were false,” the judge wrote.