Judge denies motion to dismiss Smartmatic suit against Fox

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A judge has denied Fox’s efforts to have the $2.7 billion lawsuit brought by voting technology company Smartmatic dismissed, though it did score some small victories in court March 8, 2022.

Judge David Cohen rejected Fox attorneys’ request to dismiss the largest legal action the company is facing after repeating false claims about rigged voting machines used in the 2020 election.

Fox did score two small wins, however. A claim against Jeanine Pirro was dismissed as was one against Sidney Powell, an attorney who frequently appeared on the network. Some smaller claims against Rudy Giuliani were also dismissed, but Cohen left the door open for Smartmatic to refile these claims at a later date.

However, Maria Bartiromo and former host Lou Dobbs are still facing claims, a decision Fox says it will appeal.

“Even assuming that Fox News did not intentionally allow this false narrative to be broadcasted, there is a substantial basis for plaintiffs’ claim that, at a minimum, Fox News turned a blind eye to a litany of outrageous claims about plaintiffs, unprecedented in the history of American elections, so inherently improbable that it evinced a reckless disregard for the truth,” Cohen wrote in his opinion.

The document also notes that Fox made numerous claims about Smartmatic machines be used in key swing states and that this somehow lead to corrupt vote counts.

In reality, Smartmatic machines were only used in Los Angeles County during the 2020 elections and these devices did not count, tabulate or store votes, according to a fact check page the company has set up.

Los Angeles County tends to vote heavily Democratic so it’s unlikely that any errors in vote counting, of which there is no evidence, would have affected the outcome of the election.

This doesn’t even address the fact that Fox repeatedly aired claims that Smartmatic equipment was used in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania or Arizona, states with more narrow margins that could have affected the final electoral collage counts. None of those states used any Smartmatic products or services in the 2020 election.

Fox also aired segments claiming the company is a “a Venezuelan company under the control of corrupt dictators from socialist and communist countries.” While the company’s founders are from Venezuela, the company is incorporated in Florida.

Other false claims included that Smartmatic sent votes overseas for counting, that software in Smartmatic gear was also used by rival Dominion Voting Systems and accusations of hacking.

Combined, Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems have filed multiple suits against Fox, Newsmax, OAN and MyPillow and its founder Mike Lindell for making a variety of false claims about their respective election products. Combined, the suits are seeking billions of dollars in damages.

Fox, meanwhile, has countered saying it was simply reporting a newsworthy event and is protected under the first amendment and points out that it issued a retraction on some of the claims.