Conservative news outlet Newsmax formally apologized on Friday for spreading unsubstantiated allegations that a Dominion Voting Systems employee rigged voting machines in an attempt to defeat President Donald J. Trump’s reelection candidacy. last year.
In a statement posted on its website, Newsmax admitted it had found “no evidence” of conspiracy theories put forward by lawyers, supporters and others of Mr. Trump that employee Eric Coomer manipulated the machines. Dominion voting, voting software and the latest voting counts in the election.
“On behalf of Newsmax, we apologize for any harm our report on the allegations against Dr. Coomer may have caused to Dr. Coomer and his family,” the statement said.
Mr. Coomer, Dominion’s director of product strategy and security, sued Newsmax and several pro-Trump figures in December, after being vilified in the right-wing media sphere. In his lawsuit, which also names the Trump campaign, Rudolph W. Giuliani and the One America News Network, Mr Coomer claimed he suffered damage to his reputation, emotional distress, anxiety and loss of returned as false accusations spread throughout Trump’s world that he was plotting to rig the election.
Among the charges was a claim that Mr Coomer said in a phone call with anti-fa activists that he would secure a victory for Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to the lawsuit. In fact, Mr Coomer did not participate in an “anti-fa conference call” and took no action to overturn the presidential election, according to the lawsuit.
Nonetheless, hashtags calling for Mr Coomer’s arrest and denunciation tend to be disseminated on social media, according to the lawsuit. Eric, Mr. Trump’s son posted a photo of Mr Coomer on Twitter, alongside the false claim that Mr Coomer said he would secure a victory for Biden. Mr Giuliani, Mr Trump’s attorney, told a news conference Mr Coomer was a “vicious and vicious man” who was “close to the antifa,” according to the lawsuit.
And Sidney Powell, who was also one of Mr Trump’s attorneys, replied, “Yes, that is true” on Newsmax when asked if Mr Coomer said, “Don’t worry about the President. Trump, I’ve already made sure he’s going to lose the election, ”according to the lawsuit.
As a result, Mr Coomer received a wave of offensive messages, harassment and death threats, according to the lawsuit, which names Ms Powell as a defendant.
“These fabrications and attacks on me have turned my life upside down, forced me to flee my home and made my family and loved ones fear for my safety, and I fear for theirs,” Mr Coomer wrote in a commentary. opinion column published in The Denver Post in December.
In its statement on Friday, Newsmax said it wanted to “clarify” its coverage of Mr Coomer.
“There are several facts our viewers should be aware of,” the statement read. “Newsmax has found no evidence that Dr. Coomer interfered in any way with Dominion voting machines or voting software, nor that Dr. Coomer ever claimed to have done so. Newsmax also found no evidence that Dr Coomer ever participated in a conversation with ‘antifa’ members, nor that he was directly involved in a partisan political organization.
It was not immediately clear whether the statement had been released as part of a settlement. Lawyers for Mr Coomer did not respond to messages on Saturday. Newsmax said it does not comment on the disputes.
“Our statement on the website is consistent with our previous statements that we saw no evidence of software tampering in the 2020 election,” a Newsmax spokesperson said.
In December, Newsmax released a statement waiving a number of false allegations about Dominion and Smartmatic, another election technology company that has become at the center of conspiracy theories. The statement came after Smartmatic said it sent legal opinions and letters to Newsmax demanding retractions for posting “false and defamatory statements.”
The Newsmax statement acknowledges that “no evidence was offered that Dominion or Smartmatic used any software or reprogrammed software that manipulated the votes in the 2020 election.”
In February, Newsmax host Bob Sellers interrupted Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow and a vocal Trump supporter, when he started attacking Dominion on air. As Mr. Lindell continued to speak, Mr. Sellers read a prepared statement indicating that election results had been certified in all states.
“Newsmax accepts the results as legal and final,” said Mr. Sellers. “The courts have also supported this point of view.”
Mr Coomer’s lawsuit, which had been filed in Colorado, is separate from a number of lawsuits that Dominion Voting Systems has brought against Fox News, Messrs. Giuliani and Lindell.