Libel: Smartmatic case against Fox advances

In a ruling favoring the election technology company Smartmatic, a justice of the New York Supreme Court ruled that company could proceed in its libel lawsuit against Fox News. Fox hosts and guests alleged Smartmatic fixed the election to defeat former President Donald Trump. “…Fox News turned a blind eye to a litany of outrageous claims about plaintiffs, unprecedented in the history of American elections, so inherently improbable that it evinced a reckless disregard for the truth,” said Justice David B. Cohen. (The New York Times, March 8, 2022, by Brooks Barnes)

Cohen dismissed claims against Fox host Jeanine Pirro and Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and only allowed some claims against Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Smartmatic is seeking $2.7 billion in damages.(Variety, March 8, 2022, by Brian Steinberg)

Cohen said that Fox New host Tucker Carlson provided the best evidence that Fox acted with “actual malice.” Carlson questioned Powell’s contention expressed in guest appearances on Fox that the election was stolen and asked her to provide evidence. Cohen wrote in his ruling, “…Powell never provided the evidence requested by Carlson, and President Trump’s campaign advised Carlson that it knew of no such evidence. Therefore, there are sufficient allegations that Fox News knew, or should have known, that Powell’s claim was false, and purposefully ignored the efforts of its most prominent anchor to obtain substantiation of claims of wrongdoing by [Smartmatic].” (The Washington Post, March 9, 2022, by Aaron Blake)

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