While Donald Trump and his associates were peddling election fraud schemes in an effort to undermine the 2020 presidential election results, pro-Trump broadcast network One America News was operating its own mission to sabotage voting machine company Smartmatic.
In the immediate aftermath of the January 6 Capitol riot, OAN’s chief executives passed along a volatile email to Trump attorney Sidney Powell that included a spreadsheet of Smartmatic’s employees with their company passwords.
The sender of the January 8, 2021, email was identified by CNN as OAN president Charles Herring, via public materials related to Smartmatic’s case and court documents from other 2020-related lawsuits.
Lawyers for Smartmatic related to a federal judge that the contents of the full email and its attached spreadsheet suggest that OAN executives “may have engaged in criminal activities” because they “appear to have violated state and federal laws regarding data privacy,” per CNN.
“OAN denies that its executive team ‘may have engaged in criminal activities.’ This vague accusation is a clumsy attempt to smear OAN and to divert attention from Smartmatic’s own misconduct,” OAN lawyer Charles Babcock told the outlet.
Another legal filing by an ex–Dominion Voting Systems employee accuses Herring’s father, OAN founder Robert Herring, of forwarding a similar spreadsheet to Trump’s wannabe friend, election-denier and broke MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. The filing, from a defamation case against Lindell, specifies that the email contained “password information for employees of several voting systems providers.”
The court documents do not make clear how OAN accessed Smartmatic’s records or whether the passwords distributed to Trump’s allies were accurate.
OAN is already in boiling water in regard to its election denialism. The bite-size network—which has struggled financially since it was dropped by practically every cable provider, from DirecTV to Verizon—competed in a race to the bottom with Fox to seed election lies. That could put the MAGA station in the tank for a gigantic settlement payout like Fox, which last year paid out a historic $787 million settlement to Dominion for its election lies.