Judge Rejects Fox News’ Motion To Dismiss Smartmatic Defamation Lawsuit

Judge Rejects Fox News’ Motion To Dismiss Smartmatic Defamation Lawsuit

March 8, 2022

A New York judge has denied Fox News’ efforts to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by election systems company Smartmatic.

Judge David Cohen also declined to dismiss claims against host Maria Bartiromo and former host Lou Dobbs, while tossing out claims against Jeanine Pirro and a guest on Fox News in the aftermath of the 2020 election, attorney Sidney Powell. Some of the claims against another guest, Rudy Giuliani, also were thrown out.

Smartmatic sued Fox News and other defendants for $2.7 billion, claiming that they falsely tarred them with rigging the 2020 presidential election.

“Even assuming that Fox News did not intentionally allow this false narrative to be broadcasted, there is a substantial basis for plaintiffs’ claim that, at a minimum, Fox News turned a blind eye to a litany of outrageous claims about plaintiffs, unprecedented in the history of American elections, so inherently improbable that it evinced a reckless disregard for the truth,” Cohen wrote in his 61-page opinion. (Read it here).

Fox News Media plans to appeal.

“While we are gratified that Judge Cohen dismissed Smartmatic’s claims against Jeanine Pirro at this early stage, we still plan to appeal the ruling immediately,” the company said in a statement. “We will also continue to litigate these baseless claims by filing a counterclaim for fees and costs under New York’s anti-SLAPP statute to prevent the full-blown assault on the First Amendment which stands in stark contrast to the highest tradition of American journalism.”

The network also is facing another defamation lawsuit from another company, Dominion Voting Systems, over post-2020 election claims. A Delaware judge in December declined to toss out that lawsuit.

Smartmatic claimed that Fox News, in an effort to boost post-election ratings, “fabricated a story that the election was stolen,” as Cohen noted. The claim was that Smartmatic software caused Trump to lose the election.

Among other things, Smartmatic cited one of Dobbs’ tweets, from Nov. 14, 2020, in which he wrote, “[r]ead all about Dominion and [SUSA] voting companies and you’ll soon understand how pervasive this Democrat electoral fraud is, and why there is no way in the world the 2020 Presidential election was either free or fair.”

Fox News contended that it was merely reporting on a newsworthy event: The aftermath of a presidential election. They also pointed to the fact that after Smartmatic demanded a retraction, an election security expert appeared on the Bartiromo, Dobbs and Pirro shows to say that there was no evidence that company software was used to alter votes.

More to come.

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