Smartmatic reveals what it will take for it to settle with Fox News after Dominion payout

Dominion case is far from Fox News’ only legal troubles as the network still faces lawsuits from Smartmatic, former producer Abby Grossberg and its own shareholders

Rachel Sharp
Friday 21 April 2023 15:09 BST
'Lies have consequences': Dominion announces settlement with Fox

Smartmatic has revealed what it would take for the voting systems company to settle its own defamation lawsuit with Fox News – following the right-wing network’s landmark agreement with Dominion Voting Systems this week.

The company’s lawyer said on Thursday that Smartmatic plans to have its day in court to get “the vindication of a jury verdict in their favour” over the 2020 election lies it claims Fox News pushed on its network.

However, a settlement could be in the cards – but only if Fox News makes a “full retraction” and “apology” and pays out more than the $787m settlement it has agreed to pay Dominion, according to Smartmatic.

“They need to get an apology. They need to get a full retraction,” Smartmatic lawyer Erik Connolly told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday.

The $787m Dominion payout – the largest payout in a defamation case in American history – “set down a marker” for the Smartmatic case, he said.

“That set down a marker and it’s a marker that we think we should be exceeding,” he said.

“The scope of the damage done to Smartmatic is a global scale, because we operate globally… $787m is a good start. But it’s not the right finishing point.”

On Tuesday, Fox News reached a $787m settlement with Dominion Voting Systems over its $1.6bn defamation lawsuit, which accused the network of amplifying conspiracy theories and false claims that its ballot counting machines had rigged the 2020 election against Donald Trump.

The negotiations went down to the wire, with the settlement coming just moments before opening arguments were expected to begin at trial – in a move that effectively saved media mogul Rupert Murdoch and many of Fox News’ biggest names including Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity from having to testify in the case.

In a statement announcing the settlement agreement, Fox News acknowledged that the court had determined claims about Dominion were false – but stopped short of issuing an apology.

Fox News is facing several other legal battles after its case with Dominion
Fox News is facing several other legal battles after its case with Dominion (Getty Images)

“We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false,” the company said in a statement shared with The Independent.

“This settlement reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards,” the statement added. “We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues.”

But, the Dominion case is far from Fox News’ only legal troubles.

The network is still facing a series of other lawsuits over its 2020 election lies from the likes of Smartmatic, former producer Abby Grossberg and its own shareholders.

Smartmatic is suing Fox News for $2.7bn in a suit that echoes that of Dominion – for spreading lies that it manipulated its voting machines during the 2020 presidential election in favour of President Joe Biden.

Fox News has denied all wrongdoing and released a statement on Wednesday – one day after the Dominion settlement was reached – vowing to continue to fight the case against Smartmatic.

“We will be ready to defend this case surrounding extremely newsworthy events when it goes to trial, likely in 2025,” a Fox spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday.

“As a report prepared by our financial expert shows, Smartmatic’s damages claims are implausible, disconnected from reality, and on its face intended to chill First Amendment freedoms.”

The two sides are expected to meet next week in Manhattan for a court hearing.

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