On First Amendment grounds, Fox News Media moved to dismiss a “meritless” $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit brought by the election-technology company Smartmatic.
The lawsuit charges Fox “intentionally” lied and took part in a “conspiracy” to spread the claim that the technology was used to steal the election from Donald Trump.
In the motion to dismiss filed Monday, Fox lawyer Paul Clement said the suit “strikes at the heart of the First Amendment,” the Daily Caller reported.
“Smartmatic’s theory is fundamentally incompatible with the reality of the modern news network and deeply rooted principles of free speech law,” he said.
Fox News Media contends that when high-ranking elected officials such as the president of the United States claim the election was rigged, citizens have a right to know the evidence presented by both sides.
“Smartmatic’s effort to saddle FOX with billions of dollars of liability just for covering all sides of a vigorous debate of profound national importance must be dismissed,” the motion states. “When a sitting President and his surrogates bring lawsuits challenging the results of an election, the public has a right to know the substance of their claims and what evidence backs them up, full stop.”
Smartmatic said in a statement that its complaint, filed in New York state court, is meant to hold Fox “accountable for knowingly broadcasting baseless claims.”
Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica said that one of “the biggest challenges in the Information Age is disinformation.”
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“Fox is responsible for this disinformation campaign, which has damaged democracy worldwide and irreparably harmed Smartmatic and other stakeholders who contribute to modern elections,” he said.
Many Fox employees suspect the controversial cancellation of the No. 1 program on the Fox Business Network, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” is related to the lawsuit, the Washington Post reported.
After the Nov. 3 election, Dobbs frequently interviewed figures who contested the result, including attorney Sidney Powell.
Dobbs signaled his fury against his employer, who hasn’t canceled his contract, by retweeting dozens of tweets supporting him, the Post said.
Fox News Media management gave no reason for canceling the show other than repeating a statement from October that it “regularly considers programming changes” and had been planning to “launch new formats as appropriate post-election.”
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