A new court filing argues that Fox News anchors cannot hide behind the First Amendment after helping former president Donald Trump and his allies spread election lies.
Voting technology company Smartmatic filed a 120-page motion asking a New York state court to reject the conservative network's attempt to dismiss a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit by claiming its coverage was protected speech, arguing those protections should not apply because anchors knew election fraud claims were untrue, reported Law & Crime.
"This is not a game. The First Amendment does not provide the Fox Defendants a Get Out Of Jail Free card," the motion argues. "The Fox Defendants do not get a do-over with their reporting now that they have been sued."
Smartmatic attorney J. Erik Connolly accused Fox News anchors, including Maria Bartiromo, Jeannine Pirro and Lou Dobbs of inviting Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell onto their programs and asking questions intended to promote the former president's claims of election fraud.
"The Fox anchors were not innocent bystanders and the disinformation generated during their interviews was no accident," the motion claims. "Prior to the interviews, the Fox anchors decided to join forces with Giuliani and Powell to disseminate disinformation about Smartmatic. The Fox anchors knew what Giuliani and Powell would say on their shows, asked questions to elicit lies about Smartmatic, and endorsed Giuliani's and Powell's investigation. The Fox anchors added their own defamatory comments about Smartmatic for good measure. This was a scripted performance by the Fox anchors, Giuliani, and Powell to defame and disparage Smartmatic for personal gain."
"The filing only confirms our view that the suit is meritless and FOX News covered the election in the highest tradition of the First Amendment," the spokesperson said.