Image source: Smartmatic Corporation
Three Fox News Network personalities are reportedly seeking the dismissal of a $2.7 billion libel lawsuit brought by Smartmatic Corporation, arguing that they were within the bounds of First Amendment protection as they covered ultimately false claims that the voting technology company rigged the 2020 presidential election results.
Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro filed separate motions Friday to dismiss Smartmatic’s lawsuit, which alleged the network, a unit of Fox Corporation (Nasdaq: FOXA ) and its hosts caused financial harm with its coverage, according to The Associated Press.
The hosts contended they were doing their jobs in covering unprecedented allegations that the election was marred by fraud and that Smartmatic is seeking to “chill vital First Amendment activities.”
Bartiromo, in her motion, accused Smartmatic of pursuing legal action to make up for financial losses, calling the “headline-seeking, multi-billion-dollar lawsuit” an “unconstitutional attempt by a money-losing company to try to fill its coffers at the expense of our constitutional traditions,” The Hill reported.
In 2019, Smartmatic reported $17 million in losses on $144 million in revenue, the Associated Press noted.
The motion from Dobbs, an ardent Trump supporter whose show was canceled by Fox a day after Smartmatic filed its lawsuit, says he was exercising “his rights as member of the press to address matters of public interest” by “interviewing members of the President’s legal team and offering opinions on their allegations.”
Fox News Media filed an earlier dismissal motion on Feb. 8.
Smartmatic’s attorney, J. Erik Connolly, told the Associated Press the company “is confident in its case and looks forward to briefing these issues for the court.”
Filed Feb. 4 at the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Smartmatic’s lawsuit also names Trump’s personal lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who have been frequent guests on Fox News shows and who have propagated numerous false claims and baseless conspiracy theories surrounding the November presidential election.
Even after the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed that it found no evidence of widespread voter fraud, Smartmatic said the “disinformation campaign” continued and included “multiple reports stating and implying” the company “had fixed and rigged” the election.
Shortly after Smartmatic's filing, Fox News began airing a news package that debunked some of the claims that had been made on its own network against Smartmatic and another voting technology company, Dominion Voting Systems.
Smartmatic’s complaint is the latest defamation lawsuit to come out of the election. In January, Dominion filed separate lawsuits against Giuliani and Powell for more than $1.3 billion each.
Source: Equities News