Lawyers for Fox News have moved to have a defamation suit against the network thrown out on the grounds that its reporting is covered by the First Amendment, the Associated Press confirmed Wednesday.
Dominion Voting Systems first filed suit against Fox back in March. According to the AP, the company, which manufactures voting hardware and software, is seeking $1.6 billion in damages over claims that Fox falsely reported that it had taken steps to rig the 2020 presidential race in Joe Biden’s favor.
The Washington Examiner reports that Dominion has said Fox pushed “a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process.”
An attorney for the voting company argued in a statement to the AP last month that Fox had made “a conscious, knowing business decision to endorse and repeat and broadcast these lies in order to keep its viewership.”
“A free press”
In court documents filed Tuesday, Fox defended its journalism, saying the “news media has the right in a democracy to inform citizens by reporting and commenting on a President’s allegations challenging the security of our elections.”
“A free press must be able to report both sides of a story involving claims striking at the core of our democracy — especially when those claims prompt numerous lawsuits, government investigations, and election recounts,” the network said, according to the AP.
Fox added: “When a sitting President of the United States and his legal team challenge a presidential election in litigation throughout the nation, the media can truthfully report and comment on those allegations under the First Amendment.”
Notably, numerous lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign never turned up any evidence of improprieties in the 2020 election, as Reuters notes.
“Disregard for the truth”
Dominion, for its part, has filed similar suits on grounds of defamation against individuals like Rudy Giuliani and companies including MyPillow and Newsmax, which settled its dispute with one of the voting company’s executives last month, according to Deadline.
“[W]hile Newsmax initially covered claims by President Trump’s lawyers, supporters and others that Dr. [Eric] Coomer played a role in manipulating Dominion voting machines, Dominion voting software, and the final vote counts in the 2020 presidential election, Newsmax subsequently found no evidence that such allegations were true,” the media outlet said in a statement as part of the settlement, as Deadline reported.
In a statement of its own, Dominion told the Washington Examiner that it won’t be backing down from its suit against Fox, which it maintains will “strengthen the First Amendment.”
“Dominion strongly supports free speech, but defamation for commercial gain is clearly not protected, and we intend to hold FOX accountable for its reckless disregard for the truth,” they said. “This case will strengthen the First Amendment, not weaken it.”