Far-Right Network OAN Resolves 2020 Election Defamation Lawsuit with Former Dominion Executive
One America News (OAN), a far-right television network, and one of its on-air personalities have reached an out-of-court settlement in a defamation lawsuit brought by Eric Coomer, a former executive at Dominion Voting Systems. Dominion, an election technology company, was falsely accused of rigging the 2020 election, and Coomer had sued OAN and correspondent Chanel Rion for repeatedly propagating baseless claims that he and Dominion were involved in massive election fraud by flipping millions of votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.
The terms of the settlement were not immediately disclosed in the court filing, which announced that OAN and Rion had "fully and finally settled the disputes" with Coomer but provided no further details. The deal was reportedly brokered late last week. Neither OAN's spokesperson nor its attorney responded immediately to CNN's requests for comment, while Coomer's attorney declined to comment.
It's important to note that other figures sued by Coomer, including Donald Trump's 2020 presidential campaign, Trump's former lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, have not reached a settlement and remain active defendants in the case.
By resolving the lawsuit with Coomer, OAN is addressing one of several pending legal challenges tied to the 2020 presidential election, which could have severe financial consequences for the network. OAN still faces two high-profile defamation lawsuits from Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, two voting technology companies that OAN falsely alleged had rigged the election against Trump. These cases are currently in the discovery phase and are expected to continue well into the next year unless a settlement is reached.
Chanel Rion, as a correspondent for OAN, has been a prominent promoter of the network's pro-Trump propaganda. She hosted a special program called "Dominion-izing the Vote," which disseminated debunked conspiracies about the 2020 election results.
Coomer's litigation, based in Colorado, compelled several prominent Trump allies to provide depositions regarding their unfounded fraud claims. Excerpts from these depositions have shed light on the lack of vetting that these allies conducted before spreading their allegations on social media and television, including on OAN and Fox News.
Following the 2020 election, Dominion, Smartmatic, and Coomer have transformed from relatively unknown figures into key figures in the effort to hold those who propagated Trump's election lies accountable.
However, the extensive litigation has also revealed some unflattering comments made by Coomer privately about Dominion, including a 2019 email in which he criticized the company's products and a message he sent weeks before the 2020 election, describing the company's software as being "riddled with bugs."
Dominion notably reached a $787 million settlement with Fox News earlier this year after suing the right-wing network over similar election-related false statements.