Days after voting software company Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, three of the network’s hosts, and pro-Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, Fox News Media filed a motion to dismiss the suit.
“This suit strikes at the heart of the First Amendment," lawyer Paul Clement, who filed the motion, said on Monday in a statement. “Smartmatic’s theory is fundamentally incompatible with the reality of the modern news network and deeply rooted principles of free speech law.”
Fox News Media added: “FOX News has moved to dismiss the Smartmatic lawsuit because it is meritless. If the First Amendment means anything, it means that Fox cannot be held liable for fairly reporting and commenting on competing allegations in a hotly contested and actively litigated election. We are proud of our election coverage which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism.”
Addressing Smartmatic’s allegations that Powell and Giuliani “created a story about Smartmatic” and used Fox programming “to defame and disparage Smartmatic and its election technology and software” by peddling debunked conspiracy theories, the motion argues that the voting software company is trying to “saddle FOX with billions of dollars of liability just for covering all sides of a vigorous debate of profound national importance.”
Noting that Fox was providing “newsworthy information” by giving former President Donald Trump’s lawyers and surrogates airtime to “explain their allegations” of voter fraud, the motion further states that “Smartmatic’s position would be that the press must censor all discussion of even the most newsworthy of public controversies.”