Fox Hosts Hit Back: They're Not Taking Massive Libel Lawsuit Lying Down


Three Fox News hosts — Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro — are seeking the dismissal of claims against them and their employer as part of a $2.7 billion libel lawsuit brought by the voting technology company Smartmatic.

The hosts, as well as former Donald Trump lawyers Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell, were sued this month by Smartmatic, which accused them of conspiring to spread false claims that the company was involved in an effort to steal the presidential election from Trump.

In its motions, lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis, which is also defending Fox, argue Bartiromo, Dobbs and Pirro were doing their job in covering the allegations by the president that the integrity of the election was marred by fraud.

Smartmatic in its complaint filed Feb. 4 in state court in New York had cited at least 13 reports on Fox News in which guests or personalities stated or implied that the company had helped steal the election for President Joe Biden.

The complaint alleged that the “disinformation campaign” continued even after then-Attorney General William Barr said the Department of Justice could find no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

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“Smartmatic is confident in its case and looks forward to briefing these issues for the Court,” J. Erik Connolly, attorney for Smartmatic, said Friday in a statement.

The filings by the Fox personalities note instances in which they asked Powell and Giuliani for evidence to back their claims.

They also argue that Dobbs’ statements appearing to validate the claims of his guests were constitutionally protected opinions, not statements of fact.

“The First Amendment protects the press when it informs the public about judicial proceedings regardless of the accuracy of the underlying allegations,” according to the motion filed on behalf of Dobbs.

Do you think Smartmatic should win this lawsuit?

On Dec. 18, all three hosts aired a segment debunking some of the claims that had been made against Smartmatic and another voting technology company, Dominion.

The Fox Business Network dropped Dobbs’ show Feb. 5, a day after the lawsuit was filed. The network said the move was part of a planned programming shift and not related to the lawsuit.

“This complaint is not just meritless; it is a legal shakedown designed to chill speech and punish reporting on issues that cut to the heart of our democracy,” Bartiromo’s lawyers argue.

Smartmatic’s use in the U.S. election was restricted to a single district, Los Angeles County.

The company and its technology were accused by some Trump supporters of tilting the race in favor of Joe Biden.

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The effects of the negative publicity included death threats against an executive’s 14-year-old son, the loss of business and an enduring stain on its reputation, Smartmatic claims.

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