(NEW YORK) — A day after Fox News agreed to pay $787.5 million to settle a defamation suit brought by Dominion Voting Systems, a Fox spokesperson said Wednesday that the network will be “ready to defend” itself against a similar suit from a second voting machine company.
The statement came after the company, Smartmatic, issued a statement Tuesday reaffirming its commitment to its own lawsuit in the wake of the historic Dominion settlement, saying that “Dominion’s litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox’s disinformation campaign. Smartmatic will expose the rest.”
“Smartmatic remains committed to clearing its name, recouping the significant damage done to the company in more than 50 countries, and holding Fox accountable for undermining democracy,” the statement from Smartmatic’s attorney, J. Erik Connolly, said.
Fox responded in a statement Wednesday, saying, “We will be ready to defend this case surrounding extremely newsworthy events when it goes to trial, likely in 2025. As a report prepared by our financial expert shows, Smartmatic’s damages claims are implausible, disconnected from reality, and on its face intended to chill First Amendment freedoms.”
Smartmatic, based in Florida, is suing Fox News, Fox hosts Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, former Fox host Lou Dobbs, and former President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani for $2.7 billion. The suit was filed in February 2021.
At least seven defamation lawsuits involving Fox News or Dominion Voting Systems remain related to claims that were broadcast surrounding the 2020 election. Dominion is still pursuing six other defamation lawsuits against a host of other individuals it said also pushed false claims, including right-wing network Newsmax, and former Trump attorneys Giuliani and Sidney Powell, among others.
“We’ve got some other people who have some accountability coming towards them,” Stephen Shakelford, Dominion’s attorney, said following the Fox News settlement Tuesday. “We’re not done yet.”
Dominion had accused the conservative network of knowingly pushing false conspiracy theories that Dominion had rigged the 2020 presidential election in Joe Biden’s favor, in what Dominion claims was an effort to combat concerns over declining ratings and viewer retention.
In response to Dominion’s claims, Fox said it was simply reporting on newsworthy claims made by then-President Trump and his allies — a sentiment they repeated in their statement regarding the Smartmatic suit on Wednesday.
But Judge Eric Davis, who oversaw the Dominion case, essentially blocked that defense, writing in a pre-trial ruling that it “fails to shield” Fox from liability and that the court “will not apply the privilege here.”
“Just because something is newsworthy doesn’t mean you can defame somebody,” Davis said in court during a hearing in the Dominion case.
In a filing in the case earlier this week, Fox News wrote that it “denies the allegation of a disinformation campaign.”
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