Fox News filed one other response to Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit, contending that its on-air personalities have been protected by the First Amendment as they amplified President Donald Trump’s unfounded allegations of large election fraud following the 2020 presidential election.
“Smartmatic strains to make this lawsuit seem like a garden-variety defamation suit rather than a glaring threat to core First Amendment freedoms,” the corporate’s authorized crew, led by Paul Clement of Kirkland & Ellis, mentioned in a quick filed in New York Supreme Court. the authorized crew is also representing Fox Corp., the father or mother firm of Fox News.
But Smartmatic claims that Fox News personalities and visitors went past reporting, making greater than 100 false statements in regards to the firm with the implication that it rigged the election outcomes. Its work in 2020, nonetheless, was restricted to Los Angeles County.
Fox News Sued For $1.6B By Dominion Voting Systems Over Election Coverage; Network Insists It ‘Stands In The Highest Tradition Of American Journalism’
In its most up-to-date transient, Fox News mentioned, “Smartmatic may be frustrated that it became embroiled in a heated national controversy, but one cannot supply voting technology and expect to avoid the spotlight. Controversy comes with the territory. And it was the President’s allegations, not the press’s coverage of them, that put Smartmatic in the spotlight. Smartmatic’s effort to hold Fox responsible for ensuring that the public understood what the nation’s highest elected official was claiming (and what numerous government agencies were investigating) is a profound threat to the ‘uninhibited, robust, and wide-open’ debate that the First Amendment safeguards.”
Fox News’ attorneys additionally filed briefs on behalf of different defendants within the lawsuit, Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro and Lou Dobbs. In the aftermath of the election, the hosts every featured two of essentially the most prolific purveyors of the election claims, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, attorneys for the Trump marketing campaign who additionally have been named within the Smartmatic lawsuit.
In its transient earlier this month, Smartmatic mentioned that the Fox personalities “were not innocent bystanders and the disinformation generated during their interviews was no accident.”
“The Fox anchors knew what Giuliani and Powell would say on their shows, asked questions to elicit lies about Smartmatic, and endorsed Giuliani’s and Powell’s investigation,” Smartmatic mentioned in its transient. “The Fox anchors added their own defamatory comments about Smartmatic for good measure. This was a scripted performance by the Fox anchors, Giuliani, and Powell to defame and disparage Smartmatic for personal gain.”
Fox News’ attorneys, nonetheless, contend that their hosts “repeatedly informed viewers that Smartmatic denied the allegations, pressed Giuliani and Powell to substantiate them, and aired skeptical coverage of them,” even when they weren’t “real-time counter interviews.”
In its lawsuit, Smartmatic zeroed in on some particular situations, together with a Sunday Morning Futures program on November 15 through which Bartiromo interviewed Giuliani and he or she mentioned, “One source says that the key point to understand is that the Smartmatic system has a backdoor that allows it to be [ ] or that allows the votes to be mirrored and monitored, allowing an intervening party a real-time understanding of how many votes will be needed to gain an electoral advantage.” She confirmed a graphic, explaining that it was “showing the states where they stopped counting, which I thought was also strange to stop counting in the middle of election night.”
In its reply, Fox News’ attorneys say that Bartiromo’s remark was an “accurate summary of allegations being made by the president and his legal team in connection with the president’s announcement of election-fraud investigations and litigation.”
“To the extent Bartiromo linked Smartmatic and Dominion in her voice-over of the Dominion graphic, she simply misspoke, later clarifying that the graphic referred only to Dominion voting machines,” the Fox News attorneys wrote.
Dobbs’ present was dropped by Fox Business and had its final present on February 5, the day after the Smartmatic lawsuit was filed.
Among different issues, the Fox News attorneys defended certainly one of his tweets, despatched on November 14, through which he wrote, “Read all about Dominion and Smartmatic voting companies and you’ll soon understand how pervasive this Democrat electoral fraud is, and why there’s no way in the world the 2020 Presidential election was either free or fair.”
The Fox News attorneys mentioned that the assertion was certainly one of “opinion, as indicated by hyperbolic political rhetoric, loose language, and Twitter medium.”
The community’s transient additionally contended that Smartmatic was partaking in a “fanciful theory” by claiming that its hosts aligned with Powell and Giuliani “to manufacture the allegations to ‘defame and disparage Smartmatic.’”
“Its complaint simply describes Fox programs, then tacks on conclusory allegations that the Fox hosts were ‘conspir[ing]’ with their guests, purporting to ‘discern’ that conclusion from the facts that hosts engaged in the common courtesy of ‘thank[ing]’ their guests and sometimes invited them back,” the transient acknowledged.
Fox News additionally argued that Smartmatic has not proven “actual malice,” a authorized threshold that public figures should present for a profitable defamation declare.
“Its allegations largely boil down to accusations of mere ‘failure to investigate,’ a theory squarely foreclosed by Supreme Court precedent,” the Fox News attorneys mentioned.
Fox News is also searching for dismissal based mostly on New York’s anti-SLAPP regulation.
Smartmatic, nonetheless, claimed that it was not a public determine for the needs of libel regulation.