In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, a number of individuals in the media and lawyers affiliated with former President Donald Trump pushed claims that voting software companies purposely rigged the election in then-candidate Joe Biden’s favor, which resulted in those companies filing billion-dollar-level lawsuits.
According to the Washington Examiner, Fox News was recently named as a defendant in a $2.7 billion lawsuit filed by Smartmatic, which also named several personalities at Fox News as co-defendants. But on Monday night, it was reported that Fox News’s lawyers are already pushing to have the massive lawsuit dismissed.
In the aftermath of the election, the right-leaning cable news network dedicated a fair amount of airtime to various pundits and lawyers who claimed that the voting machines were rigged, which the companies behind those machines obviously didn’t appreciate.
But Fox News is now claiming that the lawsuit is a clear violation of the First Amendment, claiming that the suit is meant to “stifle debate and chill vital First Amendment activities.”
“This suit strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Smartmatic’s theory is fundamentally incompatible with the reality of the modern news network and deeply rooted principles of free speech law,” said Kirkland & Ellis partner Paul Clement, an attorney representing Fox News.
A spokesperson for Fox News echoed that sentiment, calling the lawsuit “meritless” and adding that the media outlet shouldn’t be held accountable for “commenting on competing allegations in a hotly contested and actively litigated election.”
Several high-profile Fox News anchors and hosts were named in the suit, including Judge Jeanine Pirro, Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo and Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, whose show was canceled just a few days after the announcement of the lawsuit. Dobbs’ show was the highest-rated on Fox Business.
Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was also named in the suit, which came less than a month after being named in a similar-sized lawsuit filed against him by Dominion Voting Systems, according to the Associated Press.