- Smartmatic “remains committed” to holding Fox News responsible for alleged defamation.
- The company made the statement following Fox News’ $787 million settlement with Dominion on Tuesday.
- Smartmatic sued Fox News for defamation in 2021 and is seeking $2.7 billion in damages.
Fox News may have avoided — for now — the messy drama of its prime-time personalities being questioned over their false claims about voter fraud and the 2020 election. But another company suing it for defamation said Tuesday that it “remains committed” to holding the media outlet accountable for what it says are the harms it has caused to democracy around the globe.
By settling with Dominion Voting Systems on the first day of a planned trial in Delaware, Fox News — for the sum of $787 million — avoided the possibility that hosts such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity would have to take the stand and answer questions about whether they truly believed the opinions they espoused on television. The judge in the case had already ruled that Fox News had aired demonstrably false claims about Dominion, which originally sought $1.6 billion in damages. (In a statement, Fox News acknowledged the false statements and said the settlement reflected its “commitment to the highest journalistic standards.”)
Despite ending in a settlement, the Dominion case seriously damaged Fox News’ reputation and embarrassed the likes of Carlson, for example, who it was revealed had tried to have a reporter at the network fired for accurately reporting that the 2020 election was not stolen. In internal deliberations, producers and executives admitted that the vote wasn’t rigged but expressed concern that they would lose their audience to far-right competitors if they did not promote former President Donald Trump’s false claims.
The risk of further embarrassment has not been completely avoided, however.
In February 2021, Smartmatic, which sells electronic voting technology, also sued Fox News and those who appeared on the network — including Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell — for defamation, claiming the network had “damaged democracy worldwide” by airing false reports suggesting the company had “fixed and rigged the 2020 election.”
Smartmatic was the subject of conspiracy theories, many hinging on its connection to Venezuela, with Powell claiming it had helped rig elections there. In fact, Smartmatic blew the whistle on fraud in Venezuela, revealing in 2017 that President Nicolas Maduro had “manipulated” the vote for a new, extra-constitutional assembly.
In a statement on Tuesday, an attorney for Smartmatic credited Dominion’s litigation with shedding light on Fox News’ internal deliberations — and promised more of the same.
“Dominion’s litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox’s disinformation campaign,” J. Erik Connolly, an attorney at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff said in a statement. “Smartmatic will expose the rest.”
The company is seeking $2.7 billion in damages. In addition to Powell and Giuliani, its lawsuit lists Fox News anchors Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro as defendants; Lou Dobbs, a host who left the network in 2021, is also named.
In February, a New York appeals court, in a 5-0 decision, rejected Fox News’ effort to have the case dismissed and ruled that Giuliani and Pirro could remain as defendants. It also opened the door to adding Fox News’ parent company, the Fox Corporation, as a defendant. No trial date has been set.
Smartmatic’s case against Powell was last year moved to a court in Washington, DC.
“Smartmatic remains committed to clearing its name, recouping the significant damage done to the company, and holding Fox accountable for undermining democracy,” Connolly said.
A spokesperson for Fox News did not immediately return a request for comment. In February, however, a spokesperson for the company told Insider the lawsuit was a threat to free speech and a “flagrant attempt to deter our journalists from doing their jobs.”
Before settling with Dominion, Fox News’ public relations team said the same thing.
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