The voting company has filed multiple defamation suits, including against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Donald Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and attorney Sidney Powell, in response to false claims spread about the business following the 2020 presidential election. Those claims helped spur rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, which left five people dead and led to Trump's historic second impeachment.
Attorneys for Dominion said Fox News' behaviour differs greatly from that of other media outlets that reported on the claims.
"Even the Trump Campaign publicly distanced itself from her, with Trump loyalist Chris Christie calling her claims a 'national embarrassment, ' and Republican senators calling the White House to say she seemed 'unhinged, '" the lawsuit said.
"Fox News Media is proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court", said a statement from the company, which is owned by Fox Corp. Dominion also claims that Fox ratings and viewership were dropping at the time, so this provided them a scapegoat. The cable news outlet, the suit alleges, falsely claimed that Dominion rigged the 2020 presidential election. His allies promoted outlandish conspiracy theories about Dominion to support Trump's false claims.
The lawsuit was filed in Delaware Friday morning and is the fourth in a series of lawsuits filed by the Denver, Colorado-based voting machine company after it became the main storyline for conspiracy theories centered around election fraud.
In a statement sent to media outlets, Fox said it stands by its coverage and plans to fight the suit in court.
"Fox took a small flame and turned it into a forest fire. If this case does not rise to the level of defamation by a broadcaster, then nothing does".
The Dominion and Smartmatic lawsuits represent the biggest legal threat to Fox News to date. "We apologize to Dominion for all of the harm this caused them and their employees". The company has also sued Giuliani and Powell. "With Fox's global platform, an audience of hundreds of millions, and the inevitable and extensive republication and dissemination of the falsehoods through social media, these lies deeply damaged Dominion's once-thriving business", Dominion wrote in a 138-page complaint, with hundreds of more pages of exhibits. All have appeared on Fox News adding to the election fraud story. Unlike Dominion's, Smartmatic's participation in the 2020 election was restricted to Los Angeles County.
Dominion lawyers said they have not yet filed lawsuits against specific media personalities at Fox News but the door remains open.
The complaint called the baseless claims "ludicrous, inherently improbable, and technologically impossible", and accused the network of knowingly and "recklessly" allowed allegations they knew were false to spread on air.
The suit was filed in DE, where both companies are incorporated, though Fox News is headquartered in NY and Dominion is based in Denver.