Fox was ordered to face a US$2.7 billion defamation lawsuit brought by Smartmatic Corp.one of two election technology companies falsely accused on Fox News of rigging the 2020 US presidential election.
Wednesday’s decision by a New York state judge is the latest setback for Fox after the media giant agreed in April to pay $788 million to settle a similar lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems Inc, the other company in the focus of the conspiracy theory.
Fox’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit was denied by Judge David B. Cohen in Manhattan. Its affiliate, Fox News Network LLC, and several current and former network personalities are also named in the lawsuit and lost their attempts to have the case dismissed.
The lawsuit originates from news coverage in the weeks following the 2020 presidential election., in which Fox News guests and hosts alleged that Smartmatic and Dominion conspired with Democrats and foreign hackers to steal millions of votes from Donald Trump. The former president, who aspires to be re-elected in 2024, continues to insist on the conspiracy theory.
Fox News and its embattled parent company have argued that their reporting on the election conspiracy theory is protected by the First Amendment, and that their journalists were reporting on major allegations made by a sitting president and his supporters.