Smartmatic accuses pro-Trump OAN of engaging in “criminal activities” while pushing election lies

An email with a spreadsheet alleged to contain passwords of employees from voting technology company Smartmatic was sent to ex-Donald Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell from the president of rightwing network One America News, court filings claim. Smartmatic is suing OAN for defamation and recently discussed the spreadsheet, said to have been circulated in the aftermath of the 2020 election when Powell and others were parroting false voting fraud claims. CNN examined court records from three cases pertaining to the 2020 election to determine who was involved in the email exchanges. 

The email and spreadsheet suggest OAN’s leaders “may have engaged in criminal activities” because it appears they “violated state and federal laws regarding data privacy,” attorneys for the voting tech company told a federal judge. The alleged passwords were spread around the time Powell, her associates and other Trump allies made efforts to breach voting systems nationwide to support their claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential contest, the court records said. The court filings do not disclose how OAN gained access to the spreadsheet, nor if the passwords it contains were real, and no one from the network has been charged with any crimes.

The Jan. 8, 2021, email from OAN President Charles Herring to Powell is not public, but Smartmatic revealed parts of it in a public filing following the case’s discovery process. Though the voting tech company’s filings did not identify either party, Herring and Powell exchanged emails on the same date according to court records from a different, 2020-related lawsuit, confirming they were the sender and recipient, CNN reported.

“The pair’s communications about the purported Smartmatic spreadsheet, which have not been previously reported, resurrect questions that have dogged OAN for years regarding its tendency to blur the lines between opinion journalism and brazen political advocacy,” the outlet added.

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