- Voting software company Smartmatic on Thursday filed a $2.7 billion libel suit against Fox News, three Fox hosts, and the lawyers Rudy Giulani and Sidney Powell over what the firm said are knowingly false claims about former President Donald Trump's election loss.
- Smartmatic accused the defendants of "inventing a story" by deciding "to tell people that the election was stolen from President Trump and Vice President [Mike] Pence" by ballot fraud.
- "Without any true villain, Defendants invented one. Defendants decided to make Smartmatic the villain in their story," the suit says.
Voting software company Smartmatic on Thursday filed a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, three Fox hosts, and the lawyers Rudy Giulani and Sidney Powell over what the firm said are knowingly false claims about former President Donald Trump's election loss.
Smartmatic accused the defendants of "inventing a story" that Trump lost to President Joe Biden as a result of wide-ranging and byzantine ballot fraud.
"Without any true villain, Defendants invented one. Defendants decided to make Smartmatic the villain in their story," says the 285-page suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Fox News hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro are among the named defendants in the complaint, which in addition to defamation accuses all of the defendants of disparagement of Smartmatic with their false claims.
The suit accuses the defendants of falsely saying or implying that Smartmatic's election technology and software were compromised or hacked during the 2020 election, and of falsely stating that "Smartmatic was a Venezuela company under the control of corrupt dictators from socialist countries."
And it says that the "defendants knew the story could not change the outcome of the election" but "It could, and did, make them money."
The suit comes weeks after another target of those claims, Dominion Voting Systems, filed separate lawsuits against Giuliani and Powell seeking $1.3 billion in damages apiece.
The suit said that because of the lies told by the defendants, millions of people believed the accusations were true.
"Smartmatic and its officers began to receive hate mail and death threats," the suit says. Not only was the company harmed by the false claims, the complaint alleged, but "the story undermined people's belief in democracy."
Trump for months has refused to accept that Biden fairly defeated him in both the national popular vote and the Electoral College, which actually determines who becomes president.
The president and his allies, including his personal lawyer Giuliani and Powell, have repeatedly made false claims that there was widespread fraud and manipulation of voting machines that led to an undercount of Trump votes and to an overcount of ballots for Biden.
Powell actually was fired from Trump's election challenge legal team because of her over-the-top claims about Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems.
But the former federal prosecutor continued making her extreme accusations, and shortly before Trump left office visited the White House with other conspiracy theorists to argue that he should keep fighting to hold onto the presidency.
Smartmatic's complaint scoffs at the claims, just as a number of judges, some of them appointed by Trump, have rejected multiple challenges to Biden's win.
The suit notes that the company provided its technology during the 2020 election to just one single jurisdiction, Los Angeles County in California, and "nowhere else."
"The Earth is round," Smartmatic's lawyers wrote at the very beginning of the complaint.
"Two plus two equals four. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States," the suit says. "The election was not stolen, rigged, or fixed. These are facts. They are demonstrable and irrefutable."
"Defendants have always known these facts," the suit says.
"But they also saw an opportunity to capitalize on President Trump's popularity by inventing a story. Defendants decided to tell people that the election was stolen from President Trump and Vice President [Mike] Pence."
In a statement responding to the lawsuit, a Fox News Media spokesperson said, "Fox News Media is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion."
"We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court," the spokesperson said.
Fox News Media also noted that it ran a series of "fact checking segments" about Smartmatic, which ran on various shows, including Pirro's, and which contradicted the conspiracy theories about the company that had spread in right-wing media and online.
In those segments, OSET Institute's tech development director Eddie Perez, said he has not seen, among other things, any evidence that any Smartmatic software was used to flip votes to Biden, or that Smartmatic was related to Dominion, or that Smartmatic had sent votes overseas to be counted.
The segments were unusual for several reasons, including the fact that an off-air male voice, not the host of the respective shows on which they were aired, asked Perez questions.
Powell, in an email, said, "I have not received notice or a copy of a Smartmatic lawsuit."
"This is just another political maneuver and outrageous abusive 'lawfare" by the radical left that has no basis in fact or law," she said.
Powell noted that she attached to her email "a redacted copy of one of the sworn affidavits on which I relied" for the claims that she made.
The name of that person who signed the affidavit is blacked out. In the affidavit, the person details a purported conspiracy to create software that can manipulate the elections involving now-deceased Venezuelan authoritarian President Hugo Chavez and Smartmatic executives.
The lawsuit says that Smartmatic was founded by three engineers from Venezuela, but that it has said that it does not have ties to the country's government or to Chavez.
Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment.