Fox Corporation, which is hit by a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit by Smartmatic, has asked a Manhattan Supreme Court, which is a trial level state court, to drop the suit.
Smartmatic, a voting technology firm which provided technology for only one county, Los Angeles county in California, slapped a lawsuit against Fox hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, Fox Corporation and a couple of Trump’s lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Sydney Powell, for spreading lies and weird conspiracy theories including the Venezuelan government, an entity with which it has had absolutely no contact. It says that their conspiracy theories damaged the company’s reputation and decreased its financial prospects.
Smartmatic has gained appreciation from those who wish to curb the spread of disinformation especially from right wing news outlets. It also raises queries about the limits of speech in a changing media landscape as the right wing is slowly but surely seeing diminishing support both covert and overt especially after the Capitol riot.
Late Monday, Fox filed a response saying that Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results was considered to be “objectively newsworthy.” It said that it had played its role as a news channel by giving the former president’s lawyers and team members an opportunity to provide their side of the story on tv.
Fox’s lawyer Paul Clement is a high profile attorney who has put forward a 44-page response including the news media’s First Amendment rights quoting a landmark case of New York Times Co. vs Sullivan – 1964 press freedom case.
The arguments also included Fox hosts questioning the lawyers who represented Trump and asking them if they could prove their case in court.
Another noteworthy argument by the Fox legal team was calling Smartmatic a public figure which would make it easier to get the case dismissed by the court.
On the other hand J. Erik Connolly attorney for Smartmatic stated that it is confident of its case and would brief the court on various issues such as Fox and its hosts joining forces with Giuliani and Powell to spread lies about the election in order to gain favor with Trump and his supporters. It also says that the Fox hosts were part of a “conspiracy to defame and disparage Smartmatic.”
Image Credit Wiki