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Smartmatic could be Fox’s next big problem

<i>Michael Nagle/Bloomberg/Getty Images</i><br/>Fox News' legal battle with Dominion Voting Systems is over. It now has to deal with Smartmatic
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Michael Nagle/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Fox News' legal battle with Dominion Voting Systems is over. It now has to deal with Smartmatic

By Jennifer Korn, CNN

Fox News’ legal battle with Dominion Voting Systems is over. It now has to deal with Smartmatic, which is seeking billions of dollars more than its rival wanted in damages.

The voting technology company filed a lawsuit against Fox in New York state courts for defamation following the 2020 election, and is seeking $2.7 billion in damages from Fox and other defendants. Dominion wanted “only” $1.6 billion and settled with Fox for $787 million Tuesday.

Both lawsuits focus on Fox News’ coverage of the 2020 election, including lies about voter fraud.

Baseless conspiracy theories peddled about Smartmatic, which mimicked those pushed against Dominion, falsely suggested that the company’s technology was used throughout the country and allowed the vote to be rigged against Trump.

Some strains of the conspiracy theory pushed on Fox aimed to tie the company to the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez. Other strains suggested that Dominion used Smartmatic’s voting software in swing states and that votes were exported out of the country to be tabulated; both assertions were false, and Smartmatic pointed out in its lawsuit that it doesn’t work with Dominion as the two companies are competitors.

“We have no choice,” Antonio Mugica, the chief executive and founder of Smartmatic, told CNN Business in an interview about the company’s decision to file the lawsuit in February 2021. “The disinformation campaign that was launched against us is an obliterating one. For us, this is existential, and we have to take action.”

‘Smartmatic will expose the rest’

After more than two years of legal wrangling, Fox reached a last-second settlement with Dominion, agreeing to the biggest publicly known defamation payout by a US media company in history.

Damning emails, texts, and deposition testimony made public during the Dominion case revealed that on-air hosts and executives, and many others at Fox, privately said in 2020 that the vote-rigging claims against Dominion were asinine. But the lies were spread on-air anyway.

Smartmatic says it plans to pull back the curtain even further.

“Dominion’s litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox’s disinformation campaign,” Smartmatic lawyer Erik Connolly said in a statement after the settlement. “Smartmatic will expose the rest. Smartmatic remains committed to clearing its name, recouping the significant damage done to the company, and holding Fox accountable for undermining democracy.”

After that lawsuit was filed in February 2021, a Fox spokesperson said, “We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court.” The network denies any wrongdoing.

— CNN’s Marshall Cohen and Oliver Darcy contributed to this report

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

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