Header: Dominion Voting Systems Granted Access to Newsmax Journalists’ Communications in Defamation Suit
In a significant blow to Newsmax Media, a Delaware judge has ruled that Dominion Voting Systems is entitled to review the personal communications and text messages of Newsmax journalists in its defamation lawsuit against the conservative media company. This ruling comes as Newsmax sought to avoid a mandate similar to one in a previous case, where employees could voluntarily offer up relevant communications. Dominion filed a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Newsmax in 2021, accusing the conservative news network of defaming the company and falsely claiming election rigging in the 2020 election. This case is one of more than 10 suits brought by voting machine companies against media outlets and individuals who made stolen election claims. The trial for this lawsuit is scheduled to commence in September 2024.
Newsmax argued in legal filings that it was unable to access and deliver employees’ private communications on personal devices, contending that it had no legal right or practical ability to obtain this data. Furthermore, Newsmax claimed that it was not obligated to grant Smartmatic, another voting machine manufacturer suing the conservative network, access to personal cellphones in a similar case. They believed they should not be forced to do so in this particular lawsuit. However, Judge Eric Davis, who presided over Dominion’s case against Fox News and Fox Corporation earlier this year, disagreed with Newsmax’s arguments. On December 1, he ruled that Newsmax must comply with a court order requiring the disclosure of such materials.
The accessed communications and text messages could potentially play a crucial role in the litigation. RonNell Andersen Jones, a First Amendment specialist and professor at the University of Utah College of Law, emphasized the significance of discovery opportunities in the Dominion suit against Fox News. The settlement of this case for $787.5 million in April revealed communications between Fox News journalists, demonstrating that many of them did not believe the stolen election claims they were reporting. Dominion will carefully examine these records in search of state of mind evidence, looking for exchanges that indicate knowledge or awareness of the claims’ falsity.
Newsmax has not yet responded to requests for comment on the judge’s ruling. As the defamation suit progresses, the scrutiny of Newsmax journalists’ personal communications could have far-reaching implications for the case and potentially impact the outcome. The court’s decision to grant Dominion access to these communications underscores the importance of transparency and accountability in media reporting, especially when it comes to allegations that can significantly impact public perception and trust in the electoral process.
Original Story at www.nbcnews.com – 2023-12-08 19:30:02