Judge Claims Fox News ‘Acted With Actual Malice’ in Defamation Case

Judge Claims Fox News ‘Acted With Actual Malice’ in Defamation Case

New York Supreme Court Judge David Cohen released a 61-page ruling this week denying ’ motion to dismiss electronic voting system company ’s $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against the conservative network. Judge Cohen threw out Fox’s attempt to have the case dismissed, saying ’s comments about election fraud may prove Fox News Channel acted with ‘actual malice.’

Carlson initially expressed skepticism regarding fraudulent election claims. Shortly after the 2020 election, the Fox News host asked Sidney Powell, one of the biggest promoters of the stolen election conspiracy to substantiate her claims that Smartmatic rigged the election. He then denounced her when she didn’t turn up with the proof she claimed to have. This appears to have given Smartmatic the ammunition it needs in its attempt to prove the existence of actual malice by Fox.

From page 39 of the 61-page document:

Ironically, the statements of Tucker Carlson, perhaps the most popular Fox News host, militate most strongly in favor of a possible finding that there is a substantial basis that Fox News acted with actual malice.

Powell had been claiming that the election had been stolen and that, if Powell were correct, it would be the greatest crime in American history, and he thus asked her to substantiate her comments. However, Powell never provided the evidence requested by Carlson, and President Trump’s campaign advised Carlson that it knew of no such evidence [emphasis added]. Therefore, there are sufficient allegations that Fox News knew, or should have known, that Powell’s claim was false, and purposefully ignored the efforts of its most prominent anchor to obtain substantiation of claims of wrongdoing by [Smartmatic].

The legal trouble for Fox News becomes clear when Carlson’s skepticism at the baseless claims is juxtaposed with other Fox News hosts who aired conspiracies about Smartmatic stealing the election.

While the ruling was not in their favor, Fox News was quick to respond with a statement:

While we are gratified that Judge Cohen dismissed Smartmatic’s claims against Jeanine Pirro at this early stage, we still plan to appeal the ruling immediately.”

“We will also continue to litigate these baseless claims by filing a counterclaim for fees and costs under New York’s anti-SLAPP statute to prevent the full-blown assault on the First Amendment which stands in stark contrast to the highest tradition of American journalism.”

Cohen’s ruling allows Smartmatic to move ahead with its claims against Fox, including former host Lou Dobbs and FBN anchor Maria Bartiromo.

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