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Fox News: Second (and larger) defamation lawsuit on tap?

By Lee Cleveland - March 14, 2023

Dominion Voting Systems, a company that creates voting machines used in some states, has filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, alleging that the media corporation and some of its pundits spread conspiracy theories about Dominion’s equipment and allowed guests to make false statements about the company.

But, is there yet another crisis brewing at Fox News?

Dominion wasn’t the only voting machine company Fox allegedly slandered.

Enter Smartmatic.

Recently, The New York Supreme Court granted permission for Smartmatic’s $2.7 Billion lawsuit against Fox News to proceed to trial. Moreover, the high court refused to dismiss Fox News host Maria Bartiromo and former host Lou Dobbs from the case.

But, if Smartmatic wishes to win the defamation suit, there are high standards to be met. New York state law is assertive when it comes to protecting the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which is all about protecting press freedom. Plaintiffs have to be able to convince a jury Fox News deliberately spread false information with malicious intent. This suggests that the entity was aware that it was disseminating false information and decided to do so anyway, or recklessly didn’t take the time to confirm its accuracy.

… And that’s exactly what it seems to be.

Despite the uphill battle, Smartmatic might be the favorite to win. Justice David Cohen from the New York Supreme Court has noted that the company’s case is strong enough for it to proceed to trial.

“Plaintiffs have pleaded facts sufficient to allow a jury to infer that Fox News acted with actual malice,” said Cohen via The Guardian.