Court Hears Arguments In $2.7B Smartmatic Lawsuit

Deadline reports:

Rudy Giuliani’s attorney rehashed conspiracy theories and was light on evidence when pressed by a judge Tuesday in a defamation suit brought by voting software firm Smartmatic.

Joe Sibley of Camara & Sibley asked New York State Supreme Court Judge David Cohen to dismiss six of the claims against his client Giuliani because they constituted “product disparagement,” or calling the software lousy, not defamation.

The latter is the charge brought by the company in a lawsuit against Fox, three of its hosts, Giuliani and Sidney Powell. Defendants have asked for the case to be dismissed and their counsel, one by one, had the chance at a long hearing today to say why, followed by rebuttals by Smartmatic’s team.

CNBC reports:

A skeptical-sounding judge on Tuesday questioned lawyers for Fox News, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell about a series of election-fraud claims at the center of a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit filed against them by voting technology firm Smartmatic.

In virtual oral arguments on Fox’s bid to have the case dropped, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge David Cohen pressed counsel for the conservative news outlet about specific claims made on its air by current and former hosts Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro and Lou Dobbs.

“How is that not defamatory?” Cohen at one point asked Fox attorney Paul Clement after referencing a claim from Dobbs in mid-November that Smartmatic had been banned in Texas. The company had not been banned in the state.

Reuters reports:

Paul Clement, a lawyer representing Fox Corp, responded that those allegations were made during an interview Dobbs conducted with Giuliani, and that Fox News had a right under the U.S. Constitution’s protection for press freedom to report on newsworthy claims made by Trump’s lawyers.

The judge noted that experts have rejected the conspiracy theory that the election was hacked, adding that even Fox News host Tucker Carlson had blasted Powell for failing to back the theory with evidence.

Cohen asked whether that should have made Fox News reconsider the accuracy of its reporting. Clement said that Fox was merely reporting on newsworthy claims made by Trump’s legal teams, not endorsing the theories.