Court Battles

Voting tech company files $2.7 billion suit against Fox, Giuliani and Powell

Voting technology company Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, as well as Fox News and some of the network’s hosts, accusing them of grievously harming the company by claiming it was involved in widespread election fraud.

The firm accused Giuliani and Powell, close allies of former President Trump, of creating “a story about Smartmatic” and said the Fox Corporation, Fox News and the anchors Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro joined “the conspiracy to defame and disparage Smartmatic and its election technology and software.”   

“With this action, Smartmatic says: Enough. Facts matter. Truth matters. Defendants engaged in a conspiracy to spread disinformation about Smartmatic. They lied. And they did so knowingly and intentionally. Smartmatic seeks to hold them accountable for those lies and for the damage that their lies have caused,” Smartmatic said in the suit.

Smartmatic said it only provided its services to Los Angeles County, though it was still wrapped up in conspiracy theories that widespread fraud cost Trump a second term. Fox News, as well as right-wing outlets like Newsmax and One America News Network, dedicated extensive airtime to the claims, which critics said helped produce the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill.

“Smartmatic brings sixteen (16) claims against Defendants for defamation and disparagement. Smartmatic seeks to recover in excess of $2.7 billion for the economic and non-economic damage caused by Defendants’ disinformation campaign as well as punitive damages,” the suit says. “Finally, Smartmatic seeks a declaration requiring Defendants to fully and completely retract their false statements and implications.”

Smartmatic’s suit follows similar complaints by Dominion Voting Systems that were brought against Giuliani and Powell over their election fraud claims, which were often made on Fox News, including on shows hosted by Bartiromo, Dobbs and Pirro.

In its complaint, Smartmatic accused Fox of jeopardizing its “multi-billion-dollar pipeline of business” by airing the claims, noting it was concerned about winning new business in the U.S. It also accused the network of airing claims that harmed the country, saying “The story undermined people’s belief in democracy. The story turned neighbor against neighbor. The story led a mob to attack the U.S. Capitol.”

“Fox News Media is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion,” a spokesperson for Fox News Media told The Hill. “We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court.”

In another statement to The Hill, Powell panned the lawsuit as “another political maneuver and outrageous abusive ‘lawfare’ by the radical left that has no basis in fact or law.”

“The Smartmatic lawsuit presents another golden opportunity for discovery. I look forward to litigating with them,” added Giuliani.

The lawsuit specifically cites a number of remarks Giuliani and Powell made on Fox as well as comments the hosts made echoing those claims.

“The Smartmatic software is in the DNA of every vote tabulating company’s software and systems,” Powell said on Dobbs’s show in one highlighted exchange.

“We don’t even know who the hell really owns these companies, at least most of them,” Dobbs responded.

Attorneys for Smartmatic had sent Fox a legal notice in December demanding a “full and complete retraction of all false and defamatory statements” that was delivered with “the same intensity and level of coverage that you used to defame the company in the first place.”

The Fox programs hosted by Bartiromo, Dobbs and Pirro later aired an interview with voting technology expert Eddie Perez who corrected the record on many of the voter fraud claims. However, Smartmatic claimed in its suit Fox should not have waited until a legal notice was sent to rebut the conspiracies.

“Mr. Perez was always available to the Fox Defendants. The Fox Defendants could have put Mr. Perez on the air at any time prior to December 18,” it said in the complaint. “The Fox Defendants did not put Mr. Perez on the air until after receiving Smartmatic’s retraction demand letter because the Fox Defendants had agreed with Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell to spread the disinformation campaign for as long as they could.”

Updated at 3 p.m.

Tags 2020 election Donald Trump Jeanine Pirro Lou Dobbs Maria Bartiromo Rudy Giuliani

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