Voting technology maker Smartmatic filed a massive US $2.7 billion defamation suit against three Fox News hosts and Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani for promoting false claims that the company was involved in fraud in the November presidential election.
A complaint filed in New York state court names the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox Corp, the Fox News Network and Fox hosts Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro as defendants.
The suit – on the heels of another by Dominion Voting Systems – blasts the election fraud narrative that Trump’s lawyers put forward as he sought to cling to power – and claimed Fox used its powerful airwaves to defame the company in the process.
“The Earth is round. Two plus two equals four. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States,” the suit begins. “The election was not stolen, rigged, or fixed. These are facts. They are demonstrable and irrefutable,” it said.
The suit names Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, a former New York mayor who spearheaded his election fraud claims in TV interviews, on his own podcast, and in testimony before panels organized by Republican lawmakers as Trump sought to overturn results. It also names former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, who the campaign sought to separate itself from after the press conference, although Powell showed up at the White House in the last weeks of the administration.
Smartmatic’s 285-page complaint said the defendants “have always known these facts.”
“They knew the election was not rigged or fixed,” it said, but they “decided to tell people that the election was stolen” and to “make Smartmatic the villain in their story.”
Fox News broadcast 13 reports stating and implying Smartmatic had stolen the election and that its technology was used in six states where the results were in dispute, the complaint said.
In fact, Smartmatic provided election technology and software only in Los Angeles County, California, it said, and county officials lauded its performance.
The complaint makes 16 claims of defamation and disparagement against the defendants and seeks US$2.7 billion for economic and punitive damages.
In a statement, Fox said: “Fox News Media is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion.”
“We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court,” Fox said.