Voting Machine Company Sues Trump Lawyers and Fox News
Electronic voting systems operator Smartmatic is suing two of former President Donald Trump’s attorneys and Fox News cable network, claiming they defamed the company by accusing it of rigging the 2020 presidential election in favor of Joe Biden.
The lawsuit filed in New York state court Thursday claims $2.7 billion in damages. It also names former New York mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell as defendants.
The lawsuit accuses them of fabricating a story that the election was stolen from Trump with Smartmatic’s assistance.
“The Earth is round,” Smartmatic says in the lawsuit. “Two plus two equals four. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for president and vice president of the United States.”
The Florida-based company says the defendants focused their fraud conspiracy on Smartmatic because “they needed a villain” to explain why the vote count showed Trump lost the election.
They blame false allegations against the company for contributing to the Jan. 6 riot and invasion of the U.S. Capitol.
Smartmatic installed equipment and software only in Los Angeles County for the election, according to the lawsuit.
Giuliani and Powell told a different story on Fox News, which was repeated by television hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro. They said Smartmatic was a Venezuelan company controlled by socialist dictators, the company said.
Smartmatic’s founders were born in Venezuela but the company was organized in the United States after the contested 2000 election with a goal of developing secure voting technology. It has operated voting systems in 25 countries. Its headquarters is in London.
It has sold its systems in Venezuela for previous elections but no longer operates there.
The Trump attorneys said Smartmatic’s technology transmitted votes to foreign countries, where the software was hacked and the votes manipulated before being sent back to state election officials.
They also said the Smartmatic systems were used in states with close vote counts between Trump and Biden, implying that tampering changed the results in Biden’s favor.
“Defendants’ story was a lie,” Smartmatic said in its lawsuit. “All of it. And they knew it. But it was a story that sold.”
They told the alleged “lie” because they wanted to help Trump lay the groundwork to overturn the election, the lawsuit says.
“Without any true villain, defendants invented one,” Smartmatic says. “Defendants decided to make Smartmatic the villain in their story.”
As a result of the news stories, Smartmatic says its employees received hate mail and death threats. Its customers and potential customers were afraid to deal with the company.
Smartmatic says its professional reputation was seriously damaged.
Meanwhile, Fox News used the story to help improve its market ratings, the lawsuit says. The publicity also gave Giuliani and Powell opportunities to get more money from fundraisers and Trump supporters, the lawsuit says.
At the same time, the stories eroded viewers’ confidence in American democracy and “turned neighbor against neighbor,” the company said.
“The story led a mob to attack the U.S. Capitol,” Smartmatic’s lawsuit says.
A Fox News Media spokesperson said in a statement that its reports mentioning Smartmatic reflected professional standards.
“Fox News Media is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion,” the statement says. “We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court.”
As the reports were broadcast last fall, Smartmatic sent Fox News a demand for a retraction. The network responded with a segment in which an election expert said Smartmatic had done nothing wrong.
In its lawsuit, Smartmatic said quoting the election expert was too late and inadequate as a retraction.
The lawsuit is filed as Smartmatic USA Corp. et al. v. Fox Corp. et al. in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York.