Dominion Voting Systems on Friday filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, arguing the cable news giant falsely claimed that the voting company had rigged the 2020 election.
It’s the first defamation suit filed against a media outlet by the voting company, which was a target of President Donald Trump and his allies in the aftermath of Trump’s apparent election loss to Joe Biden.
Dominion argues that Fox News amplified claims that Dominion altered votes, and “sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process,” according to a copy of the lawsuit first obtained by The Associated Press.
“The truth matters. Lies have consequences,” the lawsuit said. “Fox sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process. If this case does not rise to the level of defamation by a broadcaster, then nothing does.”
Some Fox News on-air reporting segments have walked back claims targeting Dominion. An email sent to Fox News on Friday morning, seeking comment on the lawsuit, was not immediately returned.
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Fox News employees elevated Trump’s lawyer claims that Dominion had changed votes through algorithms in its voting machines that had been created in Venezuela to rig elections for the late dictator Hugo Chavez.
On-air personalities brought on Trump allies Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, who spread the claims, and then repeated them on Fox News’ massive social media platforms.
Dominion said in the lawsuit that it tried repeatedly to set the record straight but was ignored by Fox News.
The company argues that Fox News, a network that features several pro-Trump personalities, pushed the false claims to explain away the former president’s loss.
The cable giant lost viewers after the election and was seen by some Trump supporters as not being supportive enough of the Republican president.
Dominion has also sued Giuliani, Powell and the CEO of Minnesota-based MyPillow over the claims. A rival technology company, Smartmatic USA, also sued Fox News over election claims. Unlike Dominion, 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 buck stops with Fox on this,” attorney Stephen Shackelford said. “Fox chose to put this on all of its many platforms. They rebroadcast, republished it on social media and other places.”
The suit was filed in Delaware, where both companies are incorporated, though Fox News is headquartered in New York and Dominion is based in Denver.
The Associated Press contributed to this article