- One America News filed a motion to dismiss Dominion’s $US1.6 ($AU2) billion defamation lawsuit against the network.
- The far-right news network asked the judge to drop executives Charles and Robert Herring as defendants.
- Its lawyer said two OAN employees named in the suit could defend themselves in Colorado instead of DC.
The far-right media organization One America News (OAN) asked a judge to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems over election conspiracy theories — or, failing that, to at least let the company’s executives off the hook.
“The allegations related to OAN, Charles Herring, and Robert Herring, Sr. demonstrate that they have insufficient contacts with this jurisdiction to hale them into court here,” Blaine C. Kimrey, an attorney representing all the defendants in the lawsuit, wrote in a motion filed to court Thursday night.
But the judge can leave two the OAN employees named in the lawsuit as defendants, Kimrey wrote. On-air talent Chanel Rion is already embroiled in a similar lawsuit in Colorado, he argued. Correspondent Christina Bobb would benefit from moving it to Colorado as well, Kimrey wrote, because courts there move faster than the ones in Washington, DC.
“Rion is already litigating these same issues in Colorado and Bobb is an OAN employee who would benefit from the convenience afforded to OAN,” Kimrey wrote. “Any minor convenience to Bobb is clearly outweighed by Colorado being the more convenient forum for all other parties.”
Dominion filed the lawsuit against OAN in August, demanding $US1.6 ($AU2) billion in damages and accusing the company of pushing damaging, false conspiracy theories about the election technology company’s role in the 2020 presidential election. The lawsuit named Rion and Bobb as defendants; it also named Robert Herring, Sr. and Charles Herring, the father-son duo who founded OAN and serve as CEO and president, respectively.
Unlike Fox News and Newsmax, which Dominion later sued, OAN doubled down on election conspiracy theories in its programming in the wake of lawsuit threats — even as it quietly deleted stories from its website.
Dominion’s lawsuit said the network “deputized” Rion “as an in-house spokesperson for all Dominion-related content.” It also accused Bobb of “simultaneously and covertly moonlighting as a Trump Campaign advisor” as OAN “[raced] to the bottom with Fox [News] and other outlets such as Newsmax to spread false and manufactured stories about election fraud.”
OAN wants the lawsuit moved to Colorado if it isn’t dismissed
OAN’s attorney argued that Dominion’s lawsuit in DC should be moved to Colorado if it isn’t dismissed. He pointed out that Dominion is based in Denver, and the lawsuit has factual similarities to a separate lawsuit filed by Eric Coomer, a former Dominion executive, in the state.
The defendants in Coomer’s defamation case include Rion, One America News, and parent company Herring Networks.
“While not their home state, Colorado is much more convenient for California residents OAN, Charles Herring, and Robert Herring, Sr. than the District of Columbia (in part because OAN and Rion are already litigating these issues there),” Kimrey wrote.
Dominion’s defamation lawsuit against OAN is one of many it and rival technology company Smartmatic has filed against election conspiracy theorists and media organizations they say perpetuated those false theories.
It filed most of those cases in federal court in DC because that’s where it alleges the defamatory actions took place, including three against conspiracy theorists Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Lindell and his company MyPillow.
Days before Dominion filed its lawsuit against OAN, US District Judge Carl J. Nichols, who is overseeing the cases, ruled against all of their motions to dismiss and allowed the cases to proceed in DC federal court.
The same day Dominion sued OAN, it also sued Newsmax and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne. Byrne filed a motion to dismiss the case on Wednesday, arguing his remarks about Dominion’s role in the 2020 election were justified and didn’t rise to the level of defamation. Newsmax hasn’t yet filed a motion in response to the election technology company, but settled Coomer’s lawsuit against the company earlier this year.
A judge in Delware state court is still weighing whether to accept Fox News’ motion to dismiss Dominion’s lawsuit against it.