Fox News is not getting away with pushing Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that easily. The conservative news juggernaut failed to convince an appeals court to dismiss Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion lawsuit against both the network and its hosts who accused the election software company of “rigging” the 2020 election in Joe Biden’s favor. The lawsuit claims Fox knowingly pushed Trump’s false conspiracy theory in an effort to retain its right-wing audience, and the appeals court found unanimous cause to allow the lawsuit to continue.
In a 5-0 decision, the Appellate Division in Manhattan said Smartmatic USA alleged in “detailed fashion” how Fox News and some anchors and guests “effectively endorsed and participated in (defamation) with reckless disregard for, or serious doubts about” whether the company engaged in election fraud.
Smartmatic had sought $2.7 billion in damages, saying Fox News knowingly lied about its technology and how it was used in order to boost ratings, and keep Trump supporters from defecting to the right-wing networks Newsmax and One America News.
Despite the ruling, attorneys for Fox News are confident they will prevail in court.
“There is nothing more newsworthy than covering the president of the United States and his lawyers making allegations of voter fraud,” Fox’s legal team said in a statement. “Freedom of the press is foundational to our democracy and must be protected, in addition to the damages claims being outrageous, unsupported, and not rooted in sound financial analysis.”
Keep in mind, this lawsuit is entirely separate from the legal action the network is also facing from Dominion Voting Systems. That software company is seeking $1.6 billion in damages from Fox, who also named Dominion in its promotion of Trump’s election fraud claims. To date, there has been no evidence that the 2020 election was rigged, so it should be interesting to see if Fox can get out of either suit without paying out the nose. So far, it’s not looking good.