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Smartmatic responds to Fox News defense in $ 2.7 billion libel lawsuit – Deadline

Smartmatic said Fox News couldn’t get a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card” to escape a $ 2.7 billion libel lawsuit, in which the company claims the network ruined its reputation when prominent figures On the air have spread conspiracy theories and lies about his role in the 2020 Presidential Election.

“The Fox defendants solicited and published calculated lies about Smartmatic,” the company’s legal team said in a brief filed Monday night at the New York Supreme Court (read here). “They do not enjoy any protection or immunity under the First Amendment or New York law.”

Fox News and three on-air personalities, Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro and Lou Dobbs, are seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, which Smartmatic filed in February. Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who represented the Trump campaign and appeared numerous times on Fox News broadcasts, were also named as accused.

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Smartmatic and another voting systems company, Dominion, have become the source of false allegations that they played a role in rigging the election results in favor of Joe Biden. Dominion sued Fox News last month.

In their brief, Smartmatic’s attorneys wrote that Fox’s anchors “were not innocent bystanders and the disinformation generated during their interviews was no accident.”

“Prior to the interviews, Fox anchors decided to partner with Giuliani and Powell to spread disinformation on Smartmatic. Fox anchors knew what Giuliani and Powell would say about their shows, asked questions to get lies about Smartmatic, and approved Giuliani and Powell’s investigation. Fox Anchors added their own slanderous comments on Smartmatic for good measure. It was a performance scripted by anchors Fox, Giuliani and Powell to defame and disparage Smartmatic for personal gain.

Among other things, Smartmatic also argued that Fox News could not claim a legal privilege that extends to journalists covering official proceedings, arguing that Fox News figures “interviewed two lawyers in private practice – Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell – regarding their personal investigation into the 2020 election. During these talks, Giuliani, Powell and Fox’s anchors repeatedly lied about a private company (Smartmatic) that played a minor and uncontroversial role in the election.

In a statement, Fox News said, “The filing only confirms our view that the lawsuit is without merit and Fox News covered the election in the highest First Amendment tradition.”

In its decision to dismiss the lawsuit, the network and its parent company, Fox Corp., argued that “when a sitting president and his deputies bring a lawsuit contesting the results of an election, the public has the right to know the substance of their claims. and what evidence backs it up, period. In this context, questioning the President’s attorneys is a fully protected First Amendment activity, whether or not those attorneys can substantiate their claims. “

The day after Smartmatic filed its complaint, Fox News confirmed that it had canceled the Fox Business show from Dobbs, Lou Dobbs tonight.

In their lawsuit, Smartmatic accuses the defendants, disappointed that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election, of making up the story of the company’s involvement in electoral fraud. Smartmatic identified 13 Fox News segments from November and December, in which on-air personalities and guests suggested or said the company “stole the 2020 US election,” according to their complaint.

Fox News has argued that Smartmatic “cannot get beyond the pleading stage unless it alleges facts proving that Fox knowingly or recklessly tampered with its coverage on Smartmatic.”

Lawyers for the company, however, wrote that Smartmatic was not a “public figure,” which would require them to show that Fox News acted with actual meanness or reckless disregard for the truth.

Even so, the company’s legal team wrote that Fox News presenters “knew their statements and implications were wrong or that they were deliberately avoiding learning the truth.”

The Smartmatic legal team is led by J. Erik Connolly.

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