Fox News on Tuesday moved to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems against the network seeking $1.6 billion over allegations that it perpetrated election fraud claims during the 2020 election.
The 61-page court filing argued that the voting company failed to prove any statements by Fox News hosts were made with the intent to damage Dominion Voting Systems‘ reputation.
The network defended its coverage of the 2020 election, saying it covered both sides, including former President Trump’s refusal to accept he lost the election.
“There are two sides to every story. The press must remain free to cover both sides, or there will be a free press no more. Dominion’s $1.6 billion suit against Fox for covering both sides of this vigorous election dispute should be dismissed,” the filing read. “The freedoms of speech and press would be illusory if the prevailing party could obtain billions of dollars from the press for providing the losing side a forum.”
Dominion Voting Systems‘ lawsuit, filed in Delaware where both companies are incorporated in March, said Fox News personalities made false claims that Dominion had rigged the election in favor of President Biden despite officials such as former Attorney General William P. Barr and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger rebutting allegations of fraud.
Dominion Voting Systems told the court that its employees have been harassed since the false claims were broadcast to millions of Fox viewers.
A spokesperson from Dominion Voting Systems said the company supports freedom of speech, but Fox crossed the line.
“Dominion strongly supports free speech, but defamation for commercial gain is clearly not protected, and we intend to hold FOX accountable for its reckless disregard for the truth. This case will strengthen the First Amendment, not weaken it,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro are named as anchors in Dominion Voting Systems‘ lawsuit, which claims they falsely accused the voting company of wrongdoing.
The lawsuit claimed these anchors had guests on their shows, such as pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and Mr. Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, who the company also sued for defamation. Those lawsuits are pending in federal court.
Both Ms. Powell and Mr. Giuliani have denied any wrongdoing, saying their speech is protected by the First Amendment.
Ms. Powell had argued unsuccessfully in federal lawsuits in the state of Georgia, Michigan and Arizona that Dominion Voting Systems had ties to software developed by the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez in order to “steal” elections.
Her lawsuits alleged the company’s machines could be connected to the internet in violation of election laws. The courts ultimately dismissed her complaints.
Dominion Voting Systems’ lengthy lawsuit against Fox News claimed it accurately reported the election results on Election Day, but in order to win back frustrated viewers, the network made Dominion a focus of their coverage following the 2020 election by disregarding the truth and repeating Mr. Trump’s allegation of election fraud.
The lawsuit said these claims led to the Jan. 6 deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Dominion Voting Systems supplied voting machines to nearly two dozen states during the 2020 election.
Smartmatic USA, another company that has ties to Dominion Voting Systems, also sued Fox News earlier this year over election fraud claims for $2.7 billion. Smartmatic software was used in Los Angeles County, according to the Associated Press.
Fox News has filed several motions to dismiss in the lawsuit brought by Smartmatic.