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Fox News is settled, but Dominion still has many lawsuits from 2020

Dominion Voting Systems Inc. secured a $787.5 million settlement from Fox News for airing false election-fraud claims, but it still has several similar defamation suits against other companies

Photo: Bloomberg

Photo: Bloomberg

Bloomberg

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-By Greg Farrell and Erik Larson 
 
Dominion Voting Systems Inc. secured a $787.5 million settlement from Fox News for airing false election-fraud claims, but it still has several similar defamation suits against other companies and individuals. 
 
Fox is also still facing a $2.7 billion suit by another voting machine maker, Smartmatic Corp., that was falsely accused of rigging the 2020 election against Donald Trump. Smartmatic has sued many of the same parties as Dominion.

Fox said it’ll be ready to defend the suit at trial, likely in 2025. “As a report prepared by our financial expert shows, Smartmatic’s damages claims are implausible, disconnected from reality, and on its face intended to chill First Amendment freedoms,” the network said in a statement.

Here are the defendants being sued by the companies:

Other Conservative Networks
 
Newsmax Media Inc. and One America Network, two smaller rivals to Fox News, are both facing defamation suits by Dominion and Smartmatic for broadcasting conspiracy theories that the companies switched votes for Trump to Joe Biden. In Dominion’s suit against Fox, evidence turned over in discovery showed that Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and other top figures at the company feared that Trump supporters would abandon Fox News for Newsmax and OAN, both of which wholeheartedly embraced Trump’s claims of a stolen election. 

Newsmax has argued that the vote-rigging theory it attributed to Smartmatic wasn’t “inherently incredible” and therefore justified its coverage. Separately, Newsmax settled a lawsuit filed by a Dominion employee who faced harassment after being identified on the cable network as allegedly being involved with vote-rigging. It also issued a statement saying it found no evidence to support the claims of fraud connected to Dominion. 

OAN, which enjoyed an audience surge in the weeks after the election, has since been dropped from cable and satellite carriers. It is still available in some markets via broadcast antenna. 

Trump Lawyers
Dominion and Smartmatic are both suing Sidney Powell, the former Trump campaign lawyer who most aggressively pushed conspiracy claims about the voting machine makers. She filed several suits challenging the 2020 election results in which she advanced wild claims that Dominion and Smartmatic, which she often conflated, were part of a plot against Trump with corrupt Democratic officials, foreign agents and the deceased Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. She was dropped by the Trump campaign soon after a Nov. 19, 2020, press conference where she laid out her theory. She also made fraud claims on Fox shows hosted by Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer during the 2020 election and appeared with Powell at Nov. 19 press conference, is also facing Dominion and Smartmatic defamation suits. The companies claim Giuliani made false election-fraud claims on his podcast and YouTube shows in order to hawk gold coins, cigars and supplements to his audience.

Fox Hosts
Smartmatic also named Bartiromo as well as Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and ex-Fox Business host Lou Dobbs in its suit. Bartiromo hosted Powell on her show in the aftermath of the election, even after the lawyer forwarded her emails showing the theory was based on claims by a woman who said she learned about election fraud through something “like time travel in a semi-conscious state” that allowed her to “see what others don’t see, and hear what others don’t hear.” 

Dobbs repeatedly claimed on air in November and December of 2020 that there was new, “groundbreaking” evidence of voter fraud, even after election officials had debunked those claims. His show was canceled in February 2021.

The CEOs
Dominion and Smartmatic have both filed defamation suits against Mike Lindell, chief executive officer of MyPillow Inc., who has aggressively promoted the idea that the 2020 election was stolen through manipulation of voting machines. Lindell fought back, filing counter-suits against the companies for defamation, but a federal judge tossed his cases as groundless and frivolous.

Dominion also sued Patrick Byrne, former CEO of Overstock.com, for promoting conspiracy theories about its voting machines. Byrne stepped down from his position at the online retailer in 2019, after his three-year affair with Maria Butina, a Russian agent who developed a range of contacts among Republicans and National Rife Association members in the run-up to the 2016 election, was revealed. 

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First Published: Apr 20 2023 | 9:15 AM IST

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