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Voting technology company settles lawsuit against far-right news outlet over 2020 election claims

WASHINGTON (AP) — A voting technology company targeted by bogus fraud claims related to the 2020 presidential election settled a defamation lawsuit Tuesday against a conservative news outlet.

The settlement between Florida-based Smartmatic and One America News Network is the latest development in a larger legal pushback by voting equipment companies that became ensnared in wild conspiracy theories falsely claiming they had flipped votes and cost former President Donald Trump reelection.

In a statement, the company said it had "resolved its litigation with OANN through a confidential settlement.” The dismissal of its lawsuit was filed in federal court in the District of Columbia. Chip Babcock, a Houston-based attorney representing the news outlet, confirmed the case had been resolved but said he was unable to disclose any of the settlement terms.

Smartmatic was an odd target for the conspiracy theorists because use of its voting technology and software was so limited. It was used only in Los Angeles County, a Democratic stronghold in a state that was not a presidential battleground and where Trump did not contest his loss.

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But the company has for years also provided voting services in Venezuela, and that created a springboard for phony claims that a foreign company was involved in a vast conspiracy to flip the election from Trump to Democrat Joe Biden. Smartmatic also has active lawsuits against Fox News and the conservative outlet Newsmax over similar complaints. Fox has said it had a First Amendment right to air claims about an election that were being promoted by prominent figures.

Last year, on the eve of a trial, Fox News agreed to pay $787 million to settle a defamation lawsuit filed by a much larger voting technology company, Dominion Voting Systems, which claimed the network and its hosts spread false claims that its equipment helped rig the election against Trump. Dominion has other defamation lawsuits that remain active, including one against One America News Network.

The conspiracy theories relating to voting equipment and software are among the lies about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election won by Biden. Numerous reviews, audits and recounts in the presidential swing states where Trump contested his loss have affirmed Biden's victory, and there has been no evidence of widespread fraud. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is facing federal and state charges related to his attempts to overturn the results.

The Associated Press