Fox Corporation is asking a New York State court to drop a $ 2.7 billion defamation lawsuit filed against them by electoral technology firm Smartmatic.
Smartmatic, which supplies voting systems used in Los Angeles County, filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that Fox News, a subsidiary of Fox Corporation, had spread then-President Donald Trump's lies about the election, including conspiracy theories related to his voting machines Trump to make a profit and favor curry.
The President's deputies made unfounded claims that Smartmatic machines were used to steal votes for Trump and count them for President Joe Biden as part of a multi-year conspiracy, including outlandish theories about sending votes overseas.
In a response filed late Monday, Fox replied that Trump's efforts to scrap the election results were "objectively newsworthy" and that Fox was serving in his role as a news provider by allowing attorneys and deputies of the then-President to make their point on television.
The lawsuit was filed with the Manhattan Supreme Court, a state litigation-level court.
"This lawsuit is at the heart of the news media's First Amendment mission to educate on matters of public concern," wrote Fox's attorney Paul Clement in the file based on New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, the seminal Press from the 1964 fall of freedom.
"In short, Fox did exactly what the first change protects: it made sure the public had access to news creators and, undoubtedly, cutting-edge information that help fuel an" uninhibited, robust and wide open "debate on rapidly evolving Promote events of unprecedented importance, "wrote Clement.
Clement, who served as the attorney general under President George W. Bush for three years and is now a partner in the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, is one of the most famous lawyers in the country.
Image of the logo of Smartmatic, the company that supplies Venezuela's voting technology, on a sliding door at the company's headquarters in Caracas.
Ronaldo Schemidt | AFP | Getty Images
Smartmatic named Fox Corporation, Fox News, three Fox hosts and attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell in its lawsuit. Clement argued that Fox and his hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro could not be held liable, despite leaving the door open to take action against Giuliani and Powell.
Dobbs' show on Fox Business Network, "Lou Dobbs Tonight," was canceled by Smartmatic the day after the lawsuit was filed.
"If these surrogates fabricated evidence or told lies with actual malice, there may be a defamation lawsuit against them, but not against the media, which covered their allegations and allowed them to try to substantiate them," wrote Clement.
Fox & # 39; reasoning puts forward an entirely different narrative than Smartmatic, which in its own filing claims that Fox & # 39; Hosts were part of a "conspiracy to defame and belittle Smartmatic".
Smartmatic argued that Fox and his hosts teamed up with Giuliani and Powell to spread lies about the election in order to "regain his preferred status with President Trump and his supporters".
Fox's response lists a number of statements that show its hosts are questioning Giuliani and Powell's claims.
For example, the file states that on her November 15th show, Bartiromo Powell asked, "Sidney, you feel like you can prove this [?] … How are you going to prove that, Sidney? You believe that you can prove it in court? "
The filing also makes the argument that Smartmatic is "clearly a public figure here". If the court accepts this argument and agrees that Smartmatic is considered a public figure, it would be easier for Fox to dismiss the case. In a footnote, Clement also argues that the case against Fox Corporation should be closed on the sole grounds that Smartmatic could not demonstrate that the company was "directly involved in or controlled" the speakers and statements in question.
Fox News Media said in a statement that the company dismissed the lawsuit "because it is unfounded".
"If the first change means something, it means Fox cannot be held responsible for fair reporting and commenting on competing allegations in a highly competitive and actively litigation election," the company said. "We are proud of our election reporting, which is in the highest tradition of American journalism."
A Smartmatic attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The lawsuit against Fox is one of several defamation cases filed in the wake of Trump's attempt to tarnish and reverse Biden's victory.
Dominion Voting Systems, another voting machine maker backed by conspiracy theorists who support Trump, has filed a lawsuit against Powell and Giuliani. The company has also warned media outlets like Fox, Newsmax, One America News Network, and Epoch Times that they could face litigation.
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