Three days after Fox Corp filed a motion to dismiss the $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit filed against the media giant by electronic voting technology company Smartmatic, Maria Bartiromo, Judge Jeanine Pirro and former host Lou Dobbs have now filed their own separate motions to dismiss the suit.
Bartiromo, Pirro and Dobbs were the three on-air talent named in the original Smartmatic lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court last week.
The three motions were filed by Kirkland & Ellis, the firm representing Fox News in the case.
“Smartmatic’s headline-seeking, multi-billion-dollar lawsuit thus should be seen—and rejected—for what it is: an unconstitutional attempt by a money-losing company (Smartmatic reported $17 million in losses on just $144 million in revenue in 2019 to try to refill its coffers at the expense of our constitutional traditions,” Fox News said.
The issue at hand (in case you need a reminder): Smartmatic has alleged that Dobbs, Pirro and Bartiromo have intentionally lied about the company in an effort to mislead the public into the false belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Trump. Smartmatic is saying that its reputation has been “irreparably harmed” by the rhetoric — Dobbs, Pirro and Bartiromo, along with Trump’s personal attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell when they falsely deemed the company responsible for rigging election results against President Trump.
Fox News is citing the First Amendment, making the case that it has just been presenting all sides of the election debate, and interviewing people in the news to present information of value to its audience.
From Bartiromo’s motion: “Maria Bartiromo did her job: She covered the unquestionably newsworthy story,” adding that the First Amendment “entitles journalists like Bartiromo to interview people on both sides of a heated and actively litigated controversy.”
Pirro’s motion alleges the Smartmatic suit made an “abject failure to make sufficient allegations concerning Pirro herself.”
The Dobbs motion claims Smartmatic’s suit “comes nowhere close to alleging the type of intent required to pierce First Amendment protections and hold a commentator liable for reporting on newsworthy matters of the highest order.”
Dobbs’ Fox Business show was canceled last week, although he remains a Fox News employee (for now).