In his head-on assault on Mr. Murdoch’s company, Smartmatic argues that Fox portrayed it as the villain in a fictional narrative designed to help recapture Newsmax and OANN viewers. These two networks saw ratings spike in the weeks following the election, thanks to the assumption that Mr Biden was not the rightful winner. Smartmatic’s lawsuit also argues that Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell tried to enrich themselves and improve their standing with Mr. Trump’s supporters by making allegations that harm the company.
After Smartmatic sent a letter to Fox asking for a retraction for so-called “false and misleading statements” about the company and threatening legal action, each of the shows cited by the three Fox anchors aired a segment in an elective professional, Eddie Perez, debunked a number of false claims about Smartmatic. The pre-recorded segment, which aired in December, showed Mr Perez responding to questions in an off-camera voice. In an interview on Wednesday, Mr Perez said that the finished product “looked almost like a deposit”.
Smartmatic’s complaint described not only the reputational and financial damage the company had suffered, but also the damage inflicted on the U.S. by the claims of Mr. Trump’s allies and the Murdoch-controlled networks he had long favored , had done.
The Fox Corporation with around 9,000 employees is managed by Mr. Murdoch (89) and his older son Lachlan, its managing director. A fine of $ 2.7 billion would be heavy. Fox Corporation posted pre-tax profits of $ 3 billion on sales of $ 12.3 billion from September 2019 to September last year. The company is valued at approximately $ 17.8 billion.
Ms. Bartiromo, the host of shows on Fox Business and Fox News, interviewed Mr. Trump on November 29, his first long television interview since the election. Ms. Pirro, a former prosecutor whose “Justice with Judge Jeanine” is an integral part of the Saturday night cast of Fox New, has been friends with Mr. Trump for decades.
Don Herzog, who teaches First Amendment and defamation law at the University of Michigan, said the main argument of the lawsuit made sense. “You can’t just make up the wrong things about people,” he said. He expressed doubts that the lawsuit linked false statements about Fox to the Capitol attack and said the January 6 events had no bearing on whether the defendants harmed Smartmatic.
The suit’s success would depend on a variety of factors, Mr. Herzog added, including whether Smartmatic can convince a jury that the company didn’t have the reputation of a public figure before Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell promoted it.