Fox News personalities Maria Bartiromo and Jeannine Pirro, as well as former Fox News host Lou Dobbs, filed separate motions on Friday to dismiss defamation lawsuits from election technology firm Smartmatic.
Fox News previously moved to dismiss the $2.7 billion Smarmatic lawsuit that alleged the three hosts caused it financial harm following the Nov. 3 election. The firm also filed lawsuits against attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani.
“Smartmatic’s headline-seeking, multi-billion-dollar lawsuit thus should be seen—and rejected—for what it is: an unconstitutional attempt by a money-losing company (Smartmatic reported $17 million in losses on just $144 million in revenue in 2019) to try to refill its coffers at the expense of our constitutional traditions,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a news release on Friday in announcing the motions to dismiss the lawsuit.
In a statement to The Epoch Times on Friday, J. Erik Connolly, an attorney for Smartmatic, responded to the lawsuit by saying: “Smartmatic is confident in its case and looks forward to briefing these issues for the Court.”
The new motions filed on Friday said that Dobbs, Pirro, and Baritromo are protected journalists under the First Amendment’s freedom of press clause while noting that Smartmatic reportedly posted millions of dollars in losses in 2019. They also cited New York’s anti-SLAPP law, which was created to prevent the stifling of free speech through litigation threats.
“Smartmatic’s 285-page, $2.7 billion 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 attorneys wrote. “The First Amendment protects the press when it informs the public about judicial proceedings regardless of the accuracy of the underlying allegations,” according to a motion filed on behalf of Dobbs.
The Smartmatic suit (pdf) claims election-related “disinformation” helped to enrich the defendants, who gained more viewers or readers, raised money, or curried “favors with the outgoing administration.”
“Smartmatic’s loss was Defendants’ gain,” the lawsuit stated. “They lied. And they did so knowingly and intentionally. Smartmatic seeks to hold them accountable for those lies and for the damage that their lies have caused.”
Smartmatic said that during the 2020 election, they had provided election technology manufacturing, systems integration, software development, and logistics only for Los Angeles County, California. The company filed their complaint in a New York State Court in Manhattan.
Earlier this month, Fox News canceled Dobbs’ business show.
“As we said in October, Fox News Media regularly considers programming changes and plans have been in place to launch new formats as appropriate post-election, including on Fox Business,” a Fox News spokesperson told news outlets. “This is part of those planned changes.”
The Associated Press and Janita Kan contributed to this report.