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Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Fox News still faces $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic - The Washington Post

Fox News still faces $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic

From left: Maria Bartiromo in 2016; Lou Dobbs in 2017; and Jeanine Pirro in 2015. The on-air hosts are named in a nearly 300-page complaint from voting technology company Smartmatic. (AP)

"Fox News’s legal troubles related to the 2020 presidential election are far from over, despite its massive settlement with Dominion Voting Systems announced Tuesday afternoon.

The media company also faces a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit filed by another voting technology company, Smartmatic, that alleges Fox broadcast lies that “decimated” its business.

In a nearly 300-page complaint filed in New York State Supreme Court in February 2021, Smartmatic alleges that Fox News knowingly made “over 100 false statements and implications” about the company, amplifying false information from former president Donald Trump and his allies that Smartmatic played a role in his election loss. In February, a New York appeals court ruled that the case was allowed to proceed.

After Fox News’s $787.5 million settlement with Dominion was announced Tuesday, Smartmatic attorney J. Erik Connolly released a statement.

“Dominion’s litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox’s disinformation campaign. Smartmatic will expose the rest,” Connolly said. “Smartmatic remains committed to clearing its name, recouping the significant damage done to the company, and holding Fox accountable for undermining democracy.”

Fox News has settled a massive defamation lawsuit just as it was going to trial. (Video: Lindsey Sitz/The Washington Post, Photo: Washington Post illustration; Fox News; Mary Altaffer/AP; Theo Wargo/Getty; Jason Koerner/Getty Images/The Washington Post)

A Fox spokeswoman did not immediately respond to questions about that case on Tuesday. In the past, the company has called the lawsuit meritless and said it would defend itself.

In addition to Fox News, the complaint named Fox’s on-air hosts Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro, as well as former Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. A judge last year ruled the case could go forward but dropped Powell from the lawsuit because she is a Texas resident and the New York court doesn’t have jurisdiction over her.

“Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell needed a platform to use to spread their story,” the lawsuit stated. “They found a willing partner in Fox News.”

After Smartmatic demanded a retraction from Fox in December 2020, the network aired a short segment on several shows aimed at clearing up misinformation about the voting technology company. The company moved ahead with its lawsuit soon afterward. It cited dozens of examples of statements that it called false, including one where Giuliani claimed Smartmatic was founded by Venezuelans close to dictator Hugo Ch├ívez “to fix elections.”

As Dominion did in its lawsuit, Smartmatic alleged Fox aired its broadcasts as it worried about losing a chunk of its audience to right-wing networks Newsmax and One America News.

In November 2021, Smartmatic also sued Newsmax and the parent company of One America News, alleging that the outlets similarly defamed Smartmatic by suggesting it helped rig the election against Trump.

Smartmatic’s lawsuit against Newsmax is being handled by Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis, the same judge who oversaw Dominion’s lawsuit against Fox."

Fox News still faces $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic - The Washington Post

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