Smartmatic wants "an apology" and "full retraction" from Fox News — and more than $787M

Lawyer for the other voting-tech company suing Fox tells Jake Tapper they want network to eat crow in public

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Staff Writer

Published April 21, 2023 12:16PM (EDT)

Fox News Channel (FNC) logo is seen on a smartphone and a pc screen. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Fox News Channel (FNC) logo is seen on a smartphone and a pc screen. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Smartmatic, the second voting software and hardware company to sue Fox News for defamation, is aiming for more than the $787.5 million that Dominion Voting Systems received in a settlement with the right-wing network, according to its lead trial attorney, Erik Connolly.

Dominion's defamation suit against Fox News initially demanded $1.6 billion, alleging that Fox's airing of false claims linking the company to a "stolen" 2020 election had done irreparable harm to Dominion's business. That trial came to an abrupt end just after jury selection was completed, when the parties agreed to a settlement on Tuesday afternoon.

The historic sum Fox agreed to pay was a "tremendous outcome for Dominion, and from our perspective that set down a marker — and it's a marker that we think we should be exceeding," Connolly told CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday, Mediaite reports

Smartmatic is seeking $2.7 billion in damages, claiming that the network harmed its global business and reputation by airing lies about the 2020 election that implicated it. The larger demand is based on the global scale of Smartmatic's operations, whereas Dominion's suit, Connolly told Tapper, was limited to the company's damages within the U.S.

When Tapper asked whether Smartmatic would pursue an apology and correction from the network, Connolly said that he wanted everyone to "think of the long haul" as Smartmatic is "looking to take this case through trial."

"They are looking through the vindication of a jury verdict in their favor … that was their intention when they filed this lawsuit. That is their intention today," he explained.

The family-owned company has "spent over 20 years building a global reputation as being one of the very best election technology companies in the world," Connolly continued, adding that its reputation is "critical to them."

"And in order for them to get back to where they were before this all started, where they can win the contracts that they're now losing, they need to get an apology, they need to get a full retraction, because they're in that business for the long haul," Connolly said.

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Connolly also released a statement on Tuesday reiterating Smartmatic's commitment to "holding Fox accountable for undermining democracy" and to "clearing its name," citing the evidence of Fox's "misconduct and damage" that Dominion provided in its litigation. Connolly said Smartmatic will use much of the evidence introduced in Dominion's case, including texts and emails between Fox execs and hosts, admitting that they knew former President Trump's claims about the election were false. 

Fox News also released its own statement on Wednesday, continuing to defending its coverage of the 2020 election in the face of further legal jeopardy.

"We will be ready to defend this case surrounding extremely newsworthy events when it goes to trial, likely in 2025," the statement read. "As a report prepared by our financial expert shows, Smartmatic's damages claims are implausible, disconnected from reality, and on its face [sic] intended to chill First Amendment freedoms."

In closing the interview, Tapper urged Connolly against settling the case prematurely: "Don't forget about the American people," he said. "Don't forget about the people who care about democracy. Don't forget about the people who care about truth, because we don't have an ability to sue for those lies. You do, but we don't, so please don't forget about us when you're coming up with the end of this case."

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Tatyana Tandanpolie is a staff writer at Salon. Born and raised in central Ohio, she moved to New York City in 2018 to pursue degrees in Journalism and Africana Studies at New York University. She is currently based in her home state and has previously written for local Columbus publications, including Columbus Monthly, CityScene Magazine and The Columbus Dispatch.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Brief Defamation Dominion Voting Systems Fox News Lawsuit Smartmatic