Dominion Voting Sues Fox News For $1.6 Billion Over 2020 Election Claims

The Fox News logo is seen on an iPad on October 25, 2017.

The voting company was a target of misleading claims spread by former President Donald Trump and his allies in the aftermath of Trump’s election loss.

Dominion Voting Systems on Friday filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, arguing the cable news giant falsely claimed in an effort to boost faltering ratings 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 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 Dominion 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.

Some Fox News on-air reporting segments have debunked some of the claims targeting Dominion.

There was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election, a fact that a range of election officials across the country — and even Trump’s attorney general, William Barr — have confirmed. Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, key battleground states crucial to Biden’s victory, also vouched for the integrity of the elections in their states. Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies were dismissed by judges, including two tossed by the Supreme Court, which has three Trump-nominated justices.

Still, 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 Chavez. 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 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.

Attorneys for Dominion said Fox News’ behavior differs greatly from that of other media outlets that reported on the claims.

“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 LLC.

Though Dominion serves 28 states, until the 2020 election it had been largely unknown outside the election community. It is now widely targeted in conservative circles, seen by millions of people as one of the main villains in a fictional tale in which Democrats nationwide conspired to steal votes from Trump, the lawsuit said.

Dominion’s employees, from its software engineers to its founder, have been harassed. Some received death threats. And the company has suffered “enormous and irreparable economic harm,” lawyers said.

Dominion has also sued GiulianiPowell 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. Some at Fox News knew the claims were false but their comments were drowned out, lawyers said.

“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.

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Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Partially Shut Due To COVID-19 Outbreak

Former President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach club has been partially closed because of a COVID outbreak.

That’s according to several people familiar with the situation, including a club member who received a phone call about the closure Friday. A receptionist at the Mar-a-Lago club confirmed the news, saying it was closed until further notice, but declined to comment further.

A person familiar with club operations said that, out of an abundance of caution, the club had partially closed a section “for a short period of time” and quarantined some of its workers. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation by name.

The extent of the outbreak, what portions of the club were closed or how it was affecting the former first family weren’t immediately clear.

Trump moved to Mar-a-Lago after leaving Washington in January, and has spent the weeks since laying low, golfing, dining with friends, meeting with Republican party leaders and plotting his political future as he considers running again in 2024.

Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump was hospitalized with COVID last fall and has since been vaccinated against the virus.

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Coca-Cola And Home Depot Oppose Georgia Push To Restrict Voting

Republicans in Georgia are trying to make it harder to vote, and the pressure is on big corporations to voice their dissent.

Coca-Cola and Home Depot, two major corporations based in Georgia, have voiced their opposition to the Republican-led effort to restrict access to voting in the state, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Major corporations in Georgia have been under pressure from civil liberties groups to stand against legislation advancing in the Georgia General Assembly that would make it harder for people to vote, disproportionately so for racial and low-income minority groups.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce issued a statement to CNBC that expressed its “concern and opposition” to provisions in two bills, SB 241 and HB 531, that restrict voter access.

Coca-Cola and Home Depot representatives told The Washington Post their companies were “aligned” with the chamber’s statement. 

Voting rights advocates have called for stronger action from the chamber’s member companies, which include Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Aflac, UPS, Southern Co. and Delta Air Lines.

Groups including Black Voters Matter, the New Georgia Project Action Fund and the Georgia NAACP have ratcheted up the pressure for those businesses to take an explicit and public stance against the measures and stop donations to Republicans sponsoring the legislation. 

Other companies have issued guarded statements that did not dissent against the legislation but stated their general support for election integrity and accessibility.

A Delta representative told the Post that it backed an “election system that promotes broad voter participation, equal access to the polls, and fair, secure elections processes.” UPS and Aflac endorsed fair and secure elections in statements to CNBC.

The two bills would institute sweeping changes to voter access, including stopping no-excuse mail-in voting, curtailing early voting on Sundays, limiting access to drop boxes and restricting early voting hours. Record turnout, including from Black voters, saw the state flip blue in the 2020 presidential election and in January’s two Senate runoffs.

They’re among more than 250 pieces of legislation proposed in 43 states that would restrict voting.

Former Georgia lawmaker Stacey Abrams, a leading Democratic voting rights activist, has called the efforts to restrict voter access racist and “a redux of Jim Crow in a suit and tie.”

“We know that the only thing that precipitated these changes, it’s not that there was the question of security,” she said Sunday on CNN, referring to false Republican claims of electoral fraud. “And so the only connection that we can find is that more people of color voted, and it changed the outcome of elections in a direction that Republicans do not like.”

She said during a call with other activists Tuesday that business leaders should take an unequivocal stance on the matter, according to CNBC.

“There should be no silence from the business community when anyone in power is trying to strip away the right to vote from the people,” she said. “There should be a hue and cry.”

Georgia corporations have taken an active side on legislation in the past but for the most part have kept their silence in political debates.

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