In the weeks after President Donald J. Trump lost the 2020 election, the Fox Business host Lou Dobbs claimed to have “tremendous evidence” that voter fraud was to blame. That evidence never emerged but a new culprit in a supposed scheme to rig the election did: Dominion Voting Systems, a maker of election technology whose algorithms, Mr. Dobbs said, “were designed to be inaccurate.”
Maria Bartiromo, another host on the network, falsely stated that “Nancy Pelosi has an interest in this company.” Jeanine Pirro, a Fox News personality, speculated that “technical glitches” in Dominion’s software “could have affected thousands of absentee mail-in ballots.”
Those unfounded accusations are now among the dozens cited in Dominion’s defamation lawsuit against the Fox Corporation, which alleges that Fox repeatedly aired false, far-fetched and exaggerated allegations about Dominion and its purported role in a plot to steal votes from Mr. Trump.
Those bogus assertions — made day after day, including allegations that Dominion was a front for the communist government in Venezuela and that its voting machines could switch votes from one candidate to another — are at the center of the libel suit, one of the most extraordinary brought against an American media company in more than a generation...
The case threatens a huge financial and reputational blow to Fox, by far the most powerful conservative media company in the country. But legal scholars say it also has the potential to deliver a powerful verdict on the kind of pervasive and pernicious falsehoods — and the people who spread them — that are undermining the country’s faith in democracy...
Dominion has also filed separate lawsuits against Mr. Giuliani, Ms. Powell and Mr. Lindell.
Dominion says in its complaint that in the weeks after the election, people started leaving violent voice mail messages at its offices, threatening to execute everyone who worked there and blow up the headquarters. At one office, someone hurled a brick through a window. The company had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on security and lost hundreds of millions more in business, according to its complaint.
“The harm to Dominion from the lies told by Fox is unprecedented and irreparable because of how fervently millions of people believed them — and continue to believe them,” its complaint said.
The company has tried to draw a connection between those falsehoods and the Jan. 6 siege at the Capitol. “These lies did not simply harm Dominion,” the company said in the complaint. “They harmed democracy. They harmed the idea of credible elections."
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