Fox News Challenges Smartmatic’s Damages Claim in Defamation Lawsuit
Fox News is fighting against a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Smartmatic, a voting machine company. The suit alleges that former President Trump’s lawyers falsely accused Smartmatic of manipulating vote counts in the 2020 presidential election, and that Fox News and three of its on-air hosts, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, and Jeanine Pirro, presented this disinformation on their programs.
In a similar lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems, Fox News admitted to airing false statements in its coverage and settled the case. Now, Fox News argues that the damages sought by Smartmatic do not align with the company’s value and are an attempt to stifle the network’s free speech rights.
New York Supreme Court Judge David B. Cohen has ruled that Fox News’ counterclaim can proceed, dismissing Smartmatic’s attempt to have it dismissed. However, Smartmatic’s attorney and a representative from Fox News declined to comment on the ruling.
Judge Cohen also stated that the settled defamation case filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News cannot be used as the basis for a malice claim, as the trial did not proceed. Dominion received $787.5 million from Fox News after the jury was selected for the trial. The company had sued for $1.6 billion over false statements made by Fox News regarding its role in the 2020 election while covering Trump’s fraud claims.
In a separate ruling, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis determined that Fox News had aired false statements about Dominion during its coverage of Trump’s election fraud allegations. However, Judge Davis did not rule on actual malice, as that was to be determined in the trial. He also rejected Fox News’ defense that reporting on Trump’s false allegations was justified because they were newsworthy statements made by a sitting president.
Multiple reviews by election officials and court proceedings in battleground states found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could have altered the outcome of the 2020 election. Despite this, Trump continues to claim, without evidence, that the election was stolen, and many of his supporters believe him.
Earlier, Judge Cohen denied Fox News’ motion to dismiss the case, arguing that even though Trump’s claims were false, they were newsworthy and protected by the First Amendment. The case also involves a court dispute over whether texts from Smartmatic executives, inadvertently submitted as evidence during the discovery process, should be included. An appellate court is expected to rule on this matter in the spring.
Fox News’ attorneys have pointed to the texts as evidence of internal concerns within Smartmatic about the $2.7 billion damages claim. On the other hand, Smartmatic’s attorneys argue that the texts are privileged information and should be excluded from the case.
If a settlement is not reached, the Smartmatic vs. Fox News case is expected to go to trial next year.
Original Story at www.latimes.com – 2024-01-24 21:30:05