Rudolph Giuliani sues Smartmatic to recover legal fees in Fox News lawsuit

NEW YORK, June 14 (Reuters) – Rudolph Giuliani has sued Smartmatic to recover legal costs as he defends against his $2.7 billion lawsuit accusing him, Fox News Network and others of falsely claimed the company helped rig the 2020 US presidential election, so Joe Biden would defeat Donald Trump.

In a counterclaim filed late Monday in New York state court in Manhattan, Giuliani said the voting machine company’s defamation lawsuit, which he called frivolous, infringed his right constitutional right to speak freely on matters of public interest.

“Smartmatic’s legal tactics, including its seemingly implausible claims for damages, are a naked attempt to attack a well-known public figure” and amount to censorship, said Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and attorney for Trump.

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J. Erik Connolly, attorney for Smartmatic, said, “Smartmatic is confident in its claims against Mr. Giuliani.”

Fox News and two other defendants, Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo and former anchor Lou Dobbs, filed similar counterclaims citing New York’s “anti-SLAPP” law, short for “strategic public participation lawsuits.” “.

They and Giuliani, along with Smartmatic, are appealing portions of a March 8 ruling by state Supreme Court Justice David Cohen allowing the bulk of Smartmatic’s lawsuit to continue.

Smartmatic claimed that Fox News, part of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corp , decimated its business with a false narrative that its election software helped Biden, a Democrat, steal the election from Trump, a Republican.

The Boca Raton, Fla.-based company said Fox News did this to cater to Trump supporters, boost ratings and prevent viewers from defecting to smaller right-wing rivals Newsmax and One America News.

Smartmatic criticized Giuliani for stating without evidence that the company was formed by people close to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his late predecessor Hugo Chavez, and founded “for the specific purpose of rigging elections”.

In his ruling, Cohen found substantial basis to suggest that Fox News had “turned a blind eye to a litany of outrageous claims” about Smartmatic, with a reckless disregard for the truth. Read more

Giuliani has had his lawyer’s license in New York suspended and faces ethics charges in Washington for his campaign claims.

The case is Smartmatic USA Corp et al v Fox Corp et al, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 151136/2021.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; edited by Jonathan Oatis and Richard Pullin

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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