Voting company sues Fox, Giuliani, others for $2.7B over election fraud claims

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FILE - Rudy Giuliani, a personal attorney for President Donald Trump, talks with reporters outside the White House, Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Washington. A voting technology company is suing Fox News, three of its top hosts, Giuliani and Sidney Powell for $2.7 billion, charging that the defendants conspired to spread false claims that the company helped steal the U.S. presidential election away from former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

MIAMI – A voting technology company is suing Fox News, three of its hosts and two former lawyers for former President Donald Trump — Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell — for $2.7 billion, charging that the defendants conspired to spread false claims that the company helped “steal” the U.S. presidential election.

The 285-page complaint filed Thursday in New York state court by Florida-based Smartmatic USA is one of the largest libel suits ever undertaken. On Jan. 25, a rival election-technology company — Dominion Voting Systems, which was also ensnared in Trump's baseless effort to overturn the election — sued Guiliani and Powell for $1.3 billion.

Unlike Dominion, whose technology was used in 24 states, Smartmatic's participation in the 2020 election was restricted to Los Angeles County, which votes heavily Democratic.

Smartmatic's limited role notwithstanding, Fox aired at least 13 reports falsely stating or implying the company had stolen the 2020 vote in cahoots with Venezuela's socialist government, according to the complaint. This alleged “disinformation campaign” continued even after then-Attorney General William Barr said the Department of Justice could find no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

For instance, a Dec. 10 segment by Lou Dobbs accused Smartmatic and its CEO, Antonio Mugica, of working to flip votes through a non-existent backdoor in its voting software to carry out a “massive cyber Pearl Harbor," the complaint alleged.

“Defendants’ story was a lie," the complaint stated. "But, it was a story that sold.”

The complaint also alleges that Fox hosts Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro also directly benefitted from their involvement in the conspiracy. The lawsuit alleges that Fox went along with the “well-orchestrated dance” due to pressure from newcomer outlets such as Newsmax and One America News, which were stealing away conservative, pro-Trump viewers.

Roy Gutterman, a media law professor at Syracuse University, said the lawsuit is compelling and based on specific examples and facts, not frivolous claims.