Fox News has settled a high-profile dispute brought by Dominion Voting Systems, but the network’s legal woes are far from done.
A related complaint filed by voting equipment company Smartmatic accuses Fox of willfully providing a platform for Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani to disseminate false allegations regarding the 2020 presidential election.
Smartmatic, unlike Dominion, is suing many hosts and Giuliani as individuals in addition to Fox. The corporation is suing for at least $2.7 billion in damages, which is more than three times the amount of Fox’s recent $787.5 million settlement with Dominion. In addition, rather than Delaware, the matter will be heard in New York state court.
“Dominion’s litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox’s disinformation campaign,” Erik Connolly, an attorney representing Smartmatic, said in a statement released shortly after the Dominion agreement was announced.
“The rest will be revealed by Smartmatic.” Smartmatic remains determined to clarifying its name, recouping considerable financial losses, and holding Fox accountable for damaging democracy.”
A trial in the Smartmatic lawsuit would be months, if not years, away. There is no specific date, but Fox failed its first plea to dismiss Smartmatic’s action, allowing the case to proceed to discovery.
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“We will be ready to defend this case surrounding extremely newsworthy events when it goes to trial, most likely in 2025,” a network representative stated this week. “As our financial expert’s report demonstrates, Smartmatic’s damages claims are implausible, disconnected from reality, and appear to be intended to chill First Amendment freedoms.”
Nonetheless, some analysts believe the Smartmatic case will finish similarly to Dominion’s complaint last week.
“I don’t see really any legal or factual way for Fox to have a different result in the Smartmatic litigation than it had in Dominion,” said Rodney Smolla, president of Vermont Law and Graduate School, who represented Dominion in its defamation case.
“I know it issued the press release yesterday, saying it looked forward to defending itself, but my instinct is that’s just settlement posturing,” he continued. “It doesn’t reflect a realistic view of the law or the facts.”
Fox defended itself in part in Dominion’s suit by claiming a First Amendment “neutral report” privilege, arguing that the allegations made by Trump and his associates, such as attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, were newsworthy and Fox had a journalistic duty to present them.
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