May 16, 2021

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Newsmax apologises to Dominion security chief over false claims in Trump election conspiracy

Right-wing broadcaster Newsmax has apologised to the security director of Dominion for falsely claiming he tampered with the company’s voting machines to stop Donald Trump being re-elected.

Eric Coomer responded by dropping Newsmax from its defamation suit, which still names Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell and another conservative news network, One News America.

Separately, Dominion is suing Mr Giuliani and Ms Powell, MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell and Fox News over claims it was involved in election fraud. Fox News has called the suit “baseless” and said it would defend its coverage.

Dr Coomer said he was driven into hiding by death threats after being accused of rigging machines to help Joe Biden win November’s presidential election.

The accusations were part of Mr Trump’s so-called “big lie” that he had only lost the election because of fraud. Dozens of court filings, and investigations by the Department of Justice, established no evidence of widespread electoral fraud. Election experts have suggested the 2020 election may have been the most transparent ever.

In a statement the broadcaster said: “Newsmax would like to clarify its coverage of Dr Coomer and note that while Newsmax initially covered claims by President Trump’s lawyers, supporters and others that Dr Coomer played a role in manipulating Dominion voting machines, Dominion voting software, and the final vote counts in the 2020 presidential election, Newsmax subsequently found no evidence that such allegations were true.

“Many of the states whose results were contested by the Trump campaign after the November 2020 election have conducted extensive recounts and audits, and each of these states certified the results as legal and final.”

It added: “There are several facts that our viewers should be aware of. Newsmax has found no evidence that Dr Coomer interfered with Dominion voting machines or voting software in any way, nor that Dr Coomer ever claimed to have done so. Nor has Newsmax found any evidence that Dr Coomer ever participated in any conversation with members of ‘Antifa’, nor that he was directly involved with any partisan political organisation.

“On behalf of Newsmax, we would like to apologise for any harm that our reporting of the allegations against Dr Coomer may have caused to Dr Coomer and his family.”

Ms Powell’s lawyers have argued in court that “no reasonable person” would have believed her allegations, which suggested Dominion was part of an international conspiracy involving Venezuela’s socialist government.