Fox News has filed a countersuit against Smartmatic, saying the company’s claim that it suffered an estimated $2.7 billion in damages is unrealistic and inflated.
As LegalReader.com reported earlier this year, Smartmatic is fighting a defamation lawsuit against Fox. In its initial complaint, Smartmatic said that Fox News and several of its most notable personalities spread baseless conspiracy theories about its products and services—foremost among them that Smartmatic helped rig the 2020 presidential election in Joe Biden’s favor.
However, Fox News maintains that Smartmatic should be punished for allegedly violating anti-SLAPP laws—legal provisions that protect media outlets, journalists, and other entities from baseless or abusive litigation.
In its counterclaim, Fox News produced a report from University of Chicago business law professor Daniel Fischel.
In his report, Fischel found that Smartmatic had sustained millions of dollars in losses in the years leading up to the election.
For Smartmatic to have reached the amount it is seeking in damages, the company would have had to have experienced year-to-year growth exceeding 75%.
Attorneys for Fox have demanded millions of dollars in damages, saying that Smartmatic should be reprimanded for trying to impinge Fox’s freedom of speech.
“While the recovery of fees and costs will not undo all the damage this First Amendment-defying lawsuit has wrought, at least it may cause the next plaintiff to think twice before trying to penalize the press to the tune of billions of dollars in nonexistent damages,” the lawsuit states.
Smartmatic maintains that Fox News’s coverage of baseless conspiracy amounted to willing participation in an active disinformation campaign intended to damage Smartmatic’s reputation for political purposes.
Fox, however, says it has a legal right to cover claims made by former President Donald Trump—especially when those claims relate to a matter of great public interest, such as the 2020 election.
Smartmatic attorney J. Erik Connolly said that it is highly ironic that Fox is still trying to push back against the company’s claims.
“It is ironic that Fox claims that Smartmatic’s lawsuit is without basis after the Court found that the lawsuit had a substantial basis in law and fact,” Connolly said. “The decisions of courts across the country regarding these defamatory statements speak for themselves; and, the courts are saying something very different than Fox.”
Fox is facing a similar defamation claiming from Dominion Voting Systems, which was also implicated in right-wing election-rigging conspiracies.
There is no evidence that Trump’s claims of ballot fraud and election rigging ever occurred on a scale sufficient to affect the presidential election or its outcome.