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Fox News files motion to dismiss Dominion lawsuit
Fox News Media on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by Dominion Voting Systems over the network's coverage of claims of election irregularities during the 2020 presidential race.
The motion hinged on the argument that Fox News did not invent the claims Dominion faced over alleged issues with its machines and was merely reporting on the remarks. Dominion has claimed that Fox News, through extensive coverage and guest interviews with former President Trump's attorneys, helped spread the now-refuted claims that faulty machines threw the election.
"When a sitting President of the United States and his legal team challenge a presidential election in litigation throughout the nation, the media can truthfully report and comment on those allegations under the First Amendment without fear of liability. Plaintiffs' defamation lawsuit against Fox News threatens to stifle the media's free-speech right to inform the public about newsworthy allegations of paramount public concern," Fox's attorneys wrote.
The motion added that Fox "did not create allegations against Dominion," which were chiefly perpetuated by Trump and his supporters after the former president's loss, and that the outlet "extensively covered them just as it had reported the election results."
"As responsible journalists, Fox covered both sides. The American people deserved to know why President Trump refused to concede despite his apparent loss," the motion said. "The news media has the right in a democracy to inform citizens by reporting and commenting on a President's allegations challenging the security of our elections."
"Dominion strongly supports free speech, but defamation for commercial gain is clearly not protected, and we intend to hold FOX accountable for its reckless disregard for the truth. This case will strengthen the First Amendment, not weaken it," a Dominion spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.
The motion is the latest development in a court case that grabbed national attention after Dominion slapped Fox News with the $1.6 billion suit in May.
Dominion accused the network of pushing "baseless conspiracy theories" that the election was stolen from Trump in an effort to boost its ratings.
Among the claims the company cited that were propagated against it, including on Fox News, were that Dominion changed votes through machines that were created by late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
Dominion also filed suits against former Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell over similar claims. Fox News is also facing a similar $2.7 billion lawsuit from Smartmatic over claims the network made about that company's voting machines.
Fox News has also moved to dismiss Smartmatic's suit.
Fox News beefed up its defense team in April, tapping Charles Babcock and Scott Keller to join its representation in the case brought by Dominion.