Key Dominion exec admitted company products 'riddled with bugs' days before 2020 vote: Fox lawyers

In 2018 email cited by the defense in voting machine company's defamation suit against Fox News, Dominion director of product strategy and security acknowledged the company's technology was marred by a "*critical* bug leading to INCORRECT results."

Published: February 21, 2023 7:24pm

Updated: February 22, 2023 5:06pm

Dominion Voting Systems employees have acknowledged serious problems with the company's technology, saying, for example, that a bug led to "INCORRECT results," according to discovery cited in the defense brief in Dominion's defamation lawsuit against Fox News.

Dominion is suing Fox News for $1.6 billion for defamation after becoming a target of alleged conspiracy theories regarding its voting machines being hacked and flipping election results.

In a legal brief made public Thursday, the news outlet cited information obtained from Dominion through discovery. 

In a 2018 email Fox News obtained from Dominion Director of Product Strategy and Security Eric Coomer, he acknowledged the company's technology was marred by a "*critical* bug leading to INCORRECT results."

"It does not get much worse than that," he later added.

In 2019, Coomer lamented that "our products suck," adding that "'[a]lmost all' of Dominion's technological failings were 'due to our complete f--- up in installation,'" according to the defense brief.

In another 2019 email, Coomer wrote, "we don't address our weaknesses effectively!"

Less than a week before the 2020 presidential election, Coomer conceded in an email that "our sh-t is just riddled with bugs."

Mark Beckstrand, a Dominion Sales Manager, testified in a deposition that "other parties 'have gotten ahold of [Dominion's] equipment illicitly' in the past," according to the defense brief.

"Beckstrand," the brief continues, "identified specific instances in Georgia and North Carolina and testified that a Dominion machine was 'hacked' in Michigan" and "confirmed that these security failures were 'reported about in the news.'"

After the 2020 election, "a security expert told the media that Dominion 'software should be designed to detect and prevent th[e] kind of glitch' experienced in Antrim County, Michigan," according to the defense, and "Coomer told Dominion Vice President Kay Stimson: 'He's not entirely wrong.'"

Also following the election, "Dominion received complaints from jurisdictions in Georgia noting 'irregularities with machine counts' that required Dominion's employees 'to reprogram the machines,'" per an email cited in the brief.

Fox News is being sued by Dominion for $1.6 billion, despite the company's current owner, Staple Street Capital, paying only "$38.3 million for a roughly 75% stake in the company in 2018," according to the news outlet's brief.

Also revealed in discovery was that "Dominion's own expert calculated Dominion's alleged lost business opportunities at a mere $88 million," the brief reads.

Current and former employees of Staple Street Capital commented on the large damages sought in its lawsuit, saying, according to the brief, it "[w]ould be pretty unreal if you guys like 20x'ed your Dominion investment with these lawsuits."

Dominion didn't respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Fox News released a statement on the lawsuit, saying, "There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan. Dominion has mischaracterized the record, cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context, and spilled considerable ink on facts that are irrelevant under black-letter principles of defamation law."

Regarding claims that Dominion machines were at fault in the initial release of incorrect results from the 2020 election in Antrim County, Dominion's fact check website page reads: "Dominion machines in Antrim County, Michigan accurately counted votes. The Michigan Secretary of State confirmed that a results reporting issue was due to user error. The Michigan County Clerks Association supported this finding. A Michigan Senate review of the 2020 election found no fraud, and went further by recommending investigation of those making money from false claims of fraud in the Antrim County election. A lawsuit alleging voter fraud in Antrim County based on a widely-debunked 'forensic audit report' has been dismissed."

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