WASHINGTON (AP) — Dominion Voting Systems filed a USD1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News on Friday, arguing the cable news giant, in an effort to boost faltering ratings, falsely claimed that the voting company had rigged the 2020 election.
The lawsuit is part of a growing body of legal action filed by the voting company and other targets of misleading, false and bizarre claims spread by former United States (US) president Donald Trump and his allies in the aftermath of Trump’s election loss to Joe Biden. Those claims helped spur on rioters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6 in a violent siege that left five people dead, including a police officer. The siege led to Trump’s historic second impeachment.
Dominion argues that Fox News, which amplified inaccurate assertions that Dominion altered votes, “sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process”, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by The Associated Press. “The truth matters. Lies have consequences,” the lawsuit said. “If this case does not rise to the level of defamation by a broadcaster, then nothing does.”
Even before Dominion’s lawsuit on Friday, Fox News had already filed four motions to dismiss other legal action against its coverage. And anchor Eric Shawn interviewed a Dominion spokesperson on air in November.
“Fox News Media is proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and we will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court,” it said in a statement on Friday.
There was no known widespread fraud in the 2020 election, a fact that a range of election officials across the country — and even Trump’s attorney general, William Barr — have confirmed. Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, key battleground states crucial to Biden’s victory, also vouched for the integrity of the elections in their states.
Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies were dismissed by judges, including two tossed by the Supreme Court, which has three Trump-nominated justices.