A voting technology company is suing Fox News, three of its hosts and two former lawyers for former President Donald Trump for $2.7 billion, charging that the defendants conspired to spread false claims that the company helped steal the U.S. presidential election.
The 285-page complaint filed Thursday in New York state court by Florida-based Smartmatic USA is one of the largest libel suits ever undertaken.
On Jan. 25, a rival election technology company, Dominion Voting Systems, sued Guiliani and Powell for $1.3 billion.
Unlike Dominion, whose technology was used in 24 states, Smartmatic’s use in the 2020 election was limited to Los Angeles County.
Fox aired at least 13 reports stating or implying that the company had stolen the 2020 election, according to the complaint.
The complaint also alleges that Fox hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro directly benefited from their involvement in the “disinformation campaign.”
Fox News Media, in a statement on behalf of the network and its hosts, rejected the accusations. It said it is proud of its election coverage and would defend itself against the “meritless” lawsuit in court.
Fox “is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion,” the company said in a written statement.
Giuliani and Powell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
For Smartmatic, the effects of the negative publicity were swift and devastating, the complaint alleges. The company claims it has been the target of death threats, including against an executive’s 14-year-old son.
Smartmatic estimates that it will lose as much as $690 million in profits over the next five years. It also expects it will have to boost spending by $4.7 million to guard against what it called a “meteoric rise” in cyberattacks.
“For us, this is an existential crisis,” CEO Antonio Mugica said in an interview.
He said the accusations against Smartmatic have led one foreign bank to close its accounts and deterred Taiwan, a prospective client, from adopting its technology.
Smartmatic is represented by J. Erik Connolly, who previously won what’s believed to be the largest settlement in the history of American media defamation — at least $177 million — for a report on ABC News describing a company’s beef product as “pink slime.”
“Very rarely do you see news organization go day after day after day the same targets,” Connolly said in an interview.
“We couldn’t possibly have rigged this election because we just weren’t even in the contested states to do the rigging.”