Fox Corp. must face Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion defamation suit, a New York judge ruled on Wednesday, denying a motion to dismiss defamation claims against Fox News’ parent company. But Smartmatic must also face Fox’s counterclaims that the substantial defamation claims are intended to suppress free speech, the judge ruled in a separate order.
The pair of orders — a win for each side — continue the lengthy and costly court battle between Smartmatic, a voting company accused of rigging the election despite being used by just one U.S. district in 2020, and Fox News Corp., which has said it covered newsworthy events and individuals surrounding the 2020 election.
Fox lawyers had asked the court to dismiss the claims against Fox Corp., arguing that the parent company — led at the time by executives Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch — was not legally responsible for Fox News coverage. New York County Supreme Court Justice David Cohen disagreed and denied the motion in a Wednesday ruling, writing that “plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged in their amended complaint that Corp. employees played an affirmative role in the publication of the defamation at issue.” Cohen also noted that plaintiffs have “sufficiently alleged that Corp. employees acted with malice” — enough to consider the issue at trial.
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Fox News agreed Tuesday to pay Dominion Voting Systems nearly $800 million to avert a trial in the voting machine company’s lawsuit that would have exposed how the network promoted lies about the 2020 presidential election. Dominion originally sued for $1.6 billion.