EXCLUSIVE: Dominion sends letters threatening defamation lawsuits to Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, and other pro-Trump media figures

  • Dominion Voting Systems has sent letters to Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News, warning of a defamation lawsuit.
  • The voting firm is at the center of a false right-wing conspiracy theory it manipulated the results of the 2020 presidential election.
  • The letters, dated December 22, warn the recipients to preserve documents and copies of correspondences related to Dominion.
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Dominion Voting Systems has sent letters to Fox News, as well as the right-wing media outlets Newsmax and One America News warning it may sue over the baseless conspiracy theory that the election technology company manipulated the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Dominion has also sent letters to individual hosts and right-wing media figures, including Fox News's Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, and Maria Bartiromo, as well as Rush Limbaugh.

The letters, dated December 22, warn the recipients to preserve documents and copies of correspondence related to Dominion. The company is at the center of a conspiracy theory that it has secret ties to the rival election tech company Smartmatic, as well as the regime of the now-dead Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, and developed technology to secretly flip votes from President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden.

"We have put Fox and Newsmax and OAN on notice that we have claims, and that we are evaluating those claims, and that we're intending to pursue those claims," Dominion attorney Tom Clare told Insider in an interview Wednesday night. "We want to make sure that not only are they preserving documents, but they're not doubling down on these same allegations."

Dominion has gone on the offensive in recent weeks, going after Sidney Powell, the former Trump campaign lawyer who filed four failed federal lawsuits propagating the conspiracy theory.

Since initially pushing the theory in November, Powell has become a fixture on OAN and Newsmax, and has been an occasional guest on Fox News.

Dominion has also issued letters to some of the proclaimed witnesses in her lawsuits, including Russell Ramsland and Joshua Merritt, a self-proclaimed military intelligence expert who went under the pseudonym "Spider" in Powell's legal documents.

Powell has declined to retract her statements about Dominion. Clare told Insider that Dominion's legal action against her would move forward.

"If she doesn't retract the statements — which she's already said she won't — then we're going to move forward with defamation litigation against Sidney Powell," Clare said.

Dominion has also sent letters to the Epoch Times, another influential right-wing media outlet, and Marisa Carone, a Michigan resident whom Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has falsely touted as a witness to voter fraud.

Insider reported Wednesday that Dominion also sent a document preservation letter to Giuliani, who has spread elements as the same conspiracy theory even as he has sought to distance himself from Powell. Dominion also sent a document preservation letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

"We want Giuliani to preserve documents because he, of course, has been involved in many of these conversations," Clare told Insider. "We are looking very seriously at Giuliani's out of court statements that he has made, because he has made any of the same false and damaging allegations as Sidney Powell."

Clare told Insider that Dominion had "no choice" but to pursue legal action given how widely the false conspiracy theory about the company has spread on right-wing news outlets and on social media.

"On cable news, and on Twitter, and YouTube videos — there isn't a way to have the truth fairly adjudicated. There are no winners and losers, it's just people yelling at each other," Clare told Insider. "The only thing we're trying to do is to expose the truth. If we have a court case, there are rules, there's a process, there's evidence. And at the end, there's a verdict."

Fox News's approach to Smartmatic won't cut it

A representative for Fox News directed Insider to an interview host Eric Shawn performed with an engineering professor who studied Dominion's technology and said it was "physically impossible" for their technology to switch votes. The representative also pointed to a clip of host Tucker Carlson demonstrating skepticism about Sidney Powell.

Earlier this month, Smartmatic, the rival election technology company, sent retraction demands to Fox News, Newsmax, and OAN.

Fox News aired a clip of an off-screen interviewer speaking with an elections expert who said there was no link between Smartmatic and Dominion, and no evidence that Smartmatic participated in malfeasance.

Newsmax had one of its hosts contradict the media organization's previous coverage of Smartmatic and made a similar post on its website, calling it a clarification.

OAN never responded.

When asked if Dominion would be satisfied if Fox News and Newsmax took the same approach toward them, Clare laughed and said "No."

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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