Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News on Friday, arguing the cable news giant falsely claimed in an effort to boost faltering ratings that the voting company had rigged the 2020 election.
The lawsuit is part of a growing body of legal action filed by the voting company and other targets of misleading, false and bizarre claims spread by President Donald Trump and his allies in the aftermath of Trump’s election loss to Joe Biden. Those claims helped spur on rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a violent siege that left five people dead, including a police officer. The siege led to Trump’s historic second impeachment.
Dominion argues that Fox News, which amplified inaccurate assertions that it altered votes, “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 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 employees elevated false charges 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 Chávez. On-air personalities brought on Trump allies Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, who spread the claims, and then amplified those claims 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 the broadcasting giant.
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.
“This was a conscious, knowing business decision to endorse and repeat and broadcast these lies in order to keep its viewership,” said attorney Justin Nelson, of Susman Godfrey.
Dominion lawyers said they have not yet filed lawsuits against specific media personalities at Fox News but the door remains open.