Dominion Voting Files $1.6B Suit Against Fox News
Fox News was hit with a $1.6 billion defamation suit filed by Dominion Voting Systems on Friday.
Dominion alleges in the lawsuit that the news network falsely claimed, in an effort to boost its faltering ratings, that the company had rigged the election, The Associated Press reported.
The court filing marks the first defamation suit filed against a news outlet by the voting company, AP reported.
Dominion argues that Fox News "sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process," according to a copy of the suit.
"The truth matters. Lies have consequences," the lawsuit said. "If this case does not rise to the level of defamation by a broadcaster, then nothing does."
In early February, Smartmatic, another voting company, sued Fox News for $2.7 billion alleging the network made false and defamatory claims.
Fox has filed for a dismissal of the Smartmatic case in New York state court, arguing that it was covering a "vigorous debate of profound national importance."
"When a sitting president and his surrogates claim that an election was rigged, the public has a right to know what they are claiming, full stop," it said in court papers.
If successful, the suits filed against Fox would create a new standard for cable and broadcast news channels, requiring them to fully investigate all allegations made by public officials and figures, as well as claims made in court documents. Courts have long held such reporting is protected speech.
Conservative critics of the suits claim the litigation has been an attempt to squelch dissent about the election results that emanated from then-President Donald Trump and his lawyers.
They also noted that major media and networks published and broadcast multiple stories relating to claims of a conspiracy between the Russian government and Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Exhaustive investigations by Congress and Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence such allegations were true.
Still, major news outlets defended their press reports.
"We wrote a lot about Russia, and I have no regrets," New York Times' executive editor Dean Baquet said after the release of the Mueller report.
"It's not our job to determine whether or not there was illegality."
Similarly CNN president Jeff Zucker said: "We are not investigators. We are journalists, and our role is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did."
Newsmax received letters from Dominion and Smartmatic in late December threatening litigation.
While Newsmax covered and reported on allegations made by Trump and his lawyers, Newsmax never claimed such allegations were accurate.
Newsmax issued a statement in December noting that it had found no evidence either Dominion or Smartmatic had manipulated their respective software to alter the election result.
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