WASHINGTON (AP) – Dominion Voting Systems filed a $ 1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News on Friday, arguing that the cable news giant falsely claimed in an effort to boost viewership that the voting company had rigged the 2020 elections.
It is the first defamation lawsuit filed against a news outlet by the voting company, which was the target of misleading, false and bizarre claims made by President Donald Trump and his allies. in the wake of Trump’s electoral defeat to Joe Biden. Those claims helped fuel the rioters who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6. in a violent siege that left five dead, including a police officer. The siege led to Trump’s historic second impeachment trial.
Dominion argues that Fox News, which amplified inaccurate claims that Dominion altered the votes, “sold a false story of voter fraud to serve its own business purposes, seriously injuring Dominion in the process,” according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by The Associated Press.
Some Fox News live reporting segments have debunked some of the claims directed at Dominion. An email sent to Fox News on Friday morning seeking comment on the lawsuit was not immediately returned.
There was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election, a fact that several election officials across the country, and even Trump’s attorney general, William Barr – has confirmed. Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, key battlefield states crucial to Biden’s victory, also vouched for the integrity of the elections in their states. Almost every legal challenge for Trump and his allies were removed by justices, including two dismissed by the Supreme Court, which has three Trump-nominated justices.
Still, some Fox News employees made false accusations that Dominion had changed votes through algorithms on its voting machines that had been created in Venezuela to manipulate the elections of the late dictator Hugo Chávez. The on-air personalities attracted Trump allies Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, who spread the claims and then amplified those claims on Fox News’ massive social media platforms.
Dominion said in the lawsuit that he repeatedly tried to set the record straight, but Fox News ignored him.
The company argues that Fox News, a network featuring various pro-Trump personalities, pushed the false claims to explain the loss of the former president. The cable giant lost viewers after the election and was considered by some Trump supporters to be insufficiently supportive of the Republican.
Dominion’s attorneys said Fox News’ behavior differs greatly from that of other media outlets that reported the claims.
“This was a conscientious and conscientious business decision to endorse, repeat and spread these lies to maintain its hearing,” said attorney Justin Nelson of Susman Godfrey LLC.
Although Dominion serves 28 states, until the 2020 election it had been largely unknown outside of the voting community. He’s now a widespread target in conservative circles, viewed by millions as one of the main villains in a fictional story in which Democrats across the country conspired to steal votes from Trump, according to the lawsuit.
Dominion employees, from its software engineers to its founder, have been harassed. Some received death threats. And the company has suffered “enormous and irreparable financial damage,” the lawyers said.
Dominion has also sued Giuliani, Powell and the CEO of Minnesota-based MyPillow about claims. A rival technology company, Smartmatic USA, also sued Fox News over election claims. Unlike Dominion, Smartmatic’s participation in the 2020 elections was limited to Los Angeles County.
Dominion’s attorneys said they have yet to file lawsuits against specific media personalities on Fox News, but the door remains open. Some on Fox News knew the claims were false, but their comments were drowned out, the attorneys said.
“The buck stops with Fox on this,” said attorney Stephen Shackelford. “Fox chose to put this on all of their many platforms. They broadcast it, republished it on social media and elsewhere. “
The lawsuit was filed in Delaware, where both companies are incorporated, although Fox News is based in New York and Dominion is based in Denver.