Fox Backtracks Re “Election Fraud” After GC Gets A Demand Letter
December 23, 2020
False claims about the election from Lou Dobbs, “Judge Jeanine” and other Fox News Network personalities and their guests drew a demand letter from Benesch attorney J. Erik Connolly, representing Smartmatic USA Corp, an elections technology company. Fox responded with a stunning on-air correction in the form of a segment featuring an interview with an expert from the nonprofit Open Source Election Technology Institute. The 20-page demand letter recites numerous statements made by Fox commentators and their guests (among them Rudy Giuliani, who is quoted extensively), and then demolishes them one by one, in a textbook display of legal muscle under disciplined restraint. Fox commentators and guests had repeatedly claimed that Smartmatic was founded by or “had ties to” Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, that it purveyed software that was designed to fix elections, and that it, as paraphrased in the demand letter, “conspired to defraud the American people and fix the 2020 U.S. election by changing, inflating, and deleting votes.” The letter demands that Fox News immediately begin to correct the record with a “full and complete retraction of all its false and defamatory statements regarding Smartmatic, including but not limited to those identified” in the letter. It also notes that comments made on Fox will cause Smartmatic to lose hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in value, that the company is reserving the right to pursue defamation and disparagement claims against Fox, its reporters and guests, and that all potentially relevant documents should be preserved.
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