Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro Move to Dismiss $2.7 Billion Smartmatic Lawsuit
Top Fox personalities Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro filed a motion on Monday to dismiss the $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit brought against them and Fox News by voting systems company Smartmatic.
Smartmatic slapped Fox Corp., the parent company of Fox News, with a hefty defamation lawsuit last week alleging the network pushed false claims that it sought to rig the election against Donald Trump.
Those false claims, made by Fox hosts and guests including Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who were also named as defendants in the suit, were pushed in service of the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen.
One day after the massive lawsuit was filed, Fox Business cancelled the top-rated nightly show of Lou Dobbs — though Jeanine Pirro and Maria Bartiromo’s programs remain on the network.
Fox Corp. filed their own 44-page motion to dismiss the Smartmatic suit on Monday, citing First Amendment protections and claiming that its networks were simply reporting on attempts made by the president to challenge the election.
On Friday, lawyers for Fox filed individual motions to dismiss on behalf of Dobbs, Bartiromo and Pirro.
The network, which is repped by high-powered law firm Kirkland & Ellis, said in a statement: “Smartmatic’s headline-seeking, multi-billion-dollar lawsuit thus should be seen-and rejected-for what it is: an unconstitutional attempt by a money-losing company (Smartmatic reported $17 million in losses on just $144 million in revenue in 2019 to try to refill its coffers at the expense of our constitutional traditions.”
Smartmatic has argued that the conspiracy theories about its role in the 2020 election (in reality, the company says it was used in just one county, Los Angeles) have damaged its global reputation. It is seeking $2.7 billion for economic, non-economic as well as punitive damages.
In a press release, Fox News deemed the Smartmatic suit a “Legal Shakedown Designed to Chill Speech and Punish Reporting.”
But, as NBC reporter Dylan Byers points out, a key issue with claims made by Fox News hosts and guests is actually the absence of reporting. Smartmatic is suing them for repeating provably false claims about the company and its role in the 2020 election — claims that Fox eventually fact-checked with a segment that aired on the shows of Dobbs, Bartiromo and Pirro.
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