Fox may challenge Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion defamation claim in 2020 election

 – Gudstory

Fox may challenge Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion defamation claim in 2020 election – Gudstory

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(Bloomberg) — Fox Corp. may move forward with its claims that Smartmatic Corp.’s $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit overstates the financial losses it suffered from broadcasts falsely alleging rigging in the 2020 U.S. election. Had happened, a New York judge ruled.

In rejecting the voting machine firm’s request to dismiss Fox’s counterclaim, Justice David B. Cohen ruled Tuesday that Fox can argue that Smartmatic is trying to chill its free speech rights with the giant lawsuit.

Cohen is expected to rule soon on Fox’s motion to dismiss Smartmatic’s defamation suit outright. For now, both the lawsuit — which accuses Fox of running a “disinformation campaign” to push Donald Trump’s vote-rigging theory — and Fox’s counterclaims will proceed together.

The decision comes less than a year after Fox agreed to pay $787.5 million to settle a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by another voting machine firm, Dominion Voting Systems Inc., which had filed a similar lawsuit. Allegations were made. While campaigning to return to the White House, the former president continues to falsely claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

Read more: Murdoch compared to ‘mafia boss’ in Smartmatic elections suit

In Tuesday’s ruling, Cohen rejected Smartmatic’s argument that Fox’s settlement with Dominion, in addition to the significant rulings against Fox in that case, was enough to justify dismissing Fox’s counterclaim. Instead, the judge found that Fox’s specific argument about exaggerating damages still needed to be presented to the court.

It’s a major blow to Smartmatic, which claims its reputation suffered severe damage when Fox News hosts and guests repeatedly promoted the election conspiracy theory even after it was widely debunked. Fox guests, including Rudy Giuliani, falsely claimed that Smartmatic conspired with Dominion and foreign hackers to steal millions of votes from Trump.

Smartmatic did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the decision.

Fox alleges in its counterclaim that Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion demand is “hypothetical.” It claims that the voting machine company has exaggerated its financial losses by falsely claiming that “its annual revenues will be approximately $2 billion in 2025.” According to Fox, this is more than four times Smartmatic’s highest reported revenue within the past nine years.

Fox claims the alleged exaggeration violates a New York statute prohibiting strategic lawsuits against public participation, known as an anti-SLAPP law, which prevents cases filed with the intent to chill free speech. Prohibits doing.

Fox, which has struggled to move forward from legal battles over the 2020 election, has denied wrongdoing, saying the company’s journalists were reporting impartially on the claims of a sitting president and his allies That the election was fraudulent.

The case is Smartmatic USA Corp. v. Fox Corp., 151136/2021, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

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Published: 25 January 2024, 12:19 am IST


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