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Dominion files $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News

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Fox News channel sign is seen on a television vehicle outside the News Corporation building in New York City in New York

It's the first defamation suit filed against a media outlet by the voting company, which was the target of misleading, false and freaky claims spread by former President Trump and his allies in the aftermath of Trump's election loss to President Biden. On-air personalities brought on Trump allies Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, who spread the claims, and then amplified those claims on Fox News's massive social media platforms. On Monday, Powell filed a motion to dismiss Dominion's lawsuit against her, arguing that "no reasonable person" should have believed her election theories were "truly statements of fact".

In response to the Smartmatic lawsuit, Fox said in a statement it "is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion", adding, "We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court".

The company laid out the extent of the economic damage in a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News.

Fox News was a well-known ally of former President Donald Trump, and many of his supporters were known to be viewers of the network and its various shows.

"Fox endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies about Dominion", the complaint states, including claims that the company's software manipulated the results of the 2020 vote.

Lawyers for Dominion Voting Systems say that the company is now projected to lose over $600 million in profits due to the extent of misinformation and disinformation about its voting equipment in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.

In a statement sent to media outlets, Fox said it stands by its coverage and plans to fight the suit in court.

Attorneys for Dominion said Fox News' behavior differs greatly from that of other media outlets that reported on the claims.

"Fox took a small flame" of disinformation and "turned it into a forest fire", Dominion said in its lawsuit.

In apparent response to the growing number of defamation cases, conservative US news outlets have begun to rely on prepared disclaimers or additional prerecorded programming to repudiate pro-Trump conspiracy theories spouted by guests and hosts. "Lies have consequences. Fox sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process. We apologize to Dominion for all of the harm this caused them and their employees". Unlike Dominion, Smartmatic's participation in the 2020 election was restricted to Los Angeles County. He then interviewed an elections expert who refuted claims about fraud and mismanagement during the 2020 election.

Dominion lawyers said they have not yet filed lawsuits against specific media personalities at Fox News but the door remains open.

"The buck stops with Fox on this", attorney Stephen Shackelford said.

The complaint called the baseless claims "ludicrous, inherently improbable, and technologically impossible", and accused the network of knowingly and "recklessly" allowed allegations they knew were false to spread on air. "They rebroadcast, republished it on social media and other places".

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