Smartmatic Sues Fox News and Trump Attorneys Over Election Disinformation
A voting machine company is suing Fox News and others for $2.7 billion for “knowingly” spreading disinformation about its business.
Florida-based voting machine company Smartmatic filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Fox News, three of its top hosts, and two former lawyers for former President Donald Trump for pushing a damaging conspiracy theory involving the company’s machines and their role in the 2020 US presidential election.
The 285-page complaint, which was filed in New York state, is one of the largest libel lawsuits ever undertaken in the US.
Smartmatic’s suit follows similar legal action from voting machine company Dominion, which also found itself at the centre of unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. Unlike Dominion, whose technology was used in 24 states, Smartmatic’s machines were only used in the heavily Democratic-leaning Los Angeles County.
According to the complaint, in the aftermath of the presidential election Fox News aired at least 13 reports falsely claiming that the company had colluded with Venezuela’s socialist government to steal the vote for then-candidate Joe Biden in 2020.
“Defendants’ story was a lie,” Smartmatic said in its complaint. “But, it was a story that sold.”
The company claimed that the disinformation jeopardised client contracts and caused a slew of death threats to be sent to employees and their families. It estimated that it will lose as much as $690 million in profits over the next five years as a result of the conspiracy theory.
Smartmatic is demanding $2.7 billion in damages and a full retraction of all false statements made by Fox News Network, its hosts Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro, and former Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.
“Fox News’ disinformation campaign had a direct and harmful impact on Smartmatic’s ability to conduct business in the United States and around the world now and in the future,” Smartmatic said in a statement on its legal action.
Smartmatic will be represented by Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, LLP.