Smartmatic can pursue defamation cases

NEW YORK – A New York state judge on Tuesday said Smartmatic could pursue a $2.7 billion libel lawsuit claiming that Fox News Network, Rudolph Giuliani and others falsely accused It is true that the maker of the electronic voting system helped orchestrate the 2020 US presidential election in favor of Democrat Joe Biden.

Judge David Cohen of the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan rejected bids from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corp. FOXA.O, curator Maria Bartiromo and former host Lou Dobbs to dismiss the claims of Smartmatic against them.

Cohen also said Smartmatic may pursue certain claims against Giuliani, who worked as a lawyer for former Republican US President Donald Trump. He has denied all claims against Fox host Jeanine Pirro and former Trump attorney Sidney Powell.

Smartmatic accused the defendants of making it “the bad guy” by fabricating a story that its technology helped Biden steal the 2020 election from Trump.

The Florida-based company said Fox News did this to boost ratings, cater to Trump supporters and avoid losing viewers to the smaller right-wing networks Newsmax and One America News.

Smartmatic said it only provided the technology for the election to Los Angeles County, where Biden won.

Without judging value, Cohen finds “substantial basis” for the claim that Fox News “turns a blind eye to outrageous claims about [Smartmatic]unprecedented in the history of American elections, so unpredictable that it leads to a reckless disregard for the truth. “

In a 61-page decision, Cohen said Giuliani’s “series” of criticisms, including Smartmatic’s fixed election in Venezuela and its “old tricks” on election night, justifies the election. let some of the claims against him continue.

However, the judge held that an alleged wrongdoing by Pirro was not defamation and that he lacked jurisdiction over the claims against Powell.

Another company, Dominion Voting Systems, is pursuing a similar lawsuit. In December, a Delaware judge refused to dismiss a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News. Read full story

In a statement on behalf of Fox News’ defendants, the network said it plans to appeal Smartmatic’s decision, calling the company’s claims “baseless.”

Fox News also said it plans to file objections over the fees and costs “to prevent a full-blown attack on the First Amendment, which is in stark contrast to the highest traditions of American journalism.” .”

Powell’s attorney, Howard Kleinhendler, said his client is “confident that any further litigation by Smartmatic or others will achieve the same outcome.” Giuliani’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Smartmatic attorney J. Erik Connolly said Fox News has caused “catastrophic damage” to his client’s business and reputation. “This lawsuit will help remove that damage,” he said.

The case is Smartmatic USA Corp et al v Fox Corp et al, Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, number 151136/2021.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler and Kenneth Maxwell)

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