A top lawyer for Smartmatic, the voting technology company whose defamation lawsuit against Fox News is still pending, said Thursday that he won’t accept any settlement smaller than the $787 million Fox agreed to pay Dominion, and that his client needs a “full retraction” from the right-wing network disavowing the lies it spread about the 2020 presidential election.
“They need to get an apology. They need to get a full retraction,” Smartmatic lawyer Erik Connolly told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.”
That is something Dominion Voting Systems wasn’t able to extract from Fox as part of its historic $787 million settlement, which was clinched Tuesday, as the trial was on the brink of opening statements. (But in a press release, Fox publicly “acknowledged” that the judge in that case had concluded that all 20 on-air statements that Dominion sued over were false.)
Connolly said Smartmatic is “looking to take this case through trial” and wants “the vindication of a jury verdict in their favor.” But if there were to be an out-of-court settlement, the deal would need to include the retraction plus a payout larger than the massive sum that Dominion got.
“That set down a marker and it’s a marker that we think we should be exceeding,” Connolly said. “The scope of the damage done to Smartmatic is a global scale, because we operate globally… $787 million is a good start. But it’s not the right finishing point.”
He blasted Fox for perpetrating the myth that Smartmatic “somehow masterminded an ability to rig a national election when we were only in one county” in 2020 — Los Angeles County — adding, that level of “recklessness is something you don’t normally see.”
Fox denies wrongdoing and is fighting the lawsuit, which is unfolding in New York state courts. Smartmatic wants $2.7 billion from Fox and other Trump allies that it named in the lawsuit.
“We will be ready to defend this case surrounding extremely newsworthy events when it goes to trial, likely in 2025,” a Fox spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday. “As a report prepared by our financial expert shows, Smartmatic’s damages claims are implausible, disconnected from reality, and on its face intended to chill First Amendment freedoms.”
The parties will meet face-to-face next week for a hearing in Manhattan, about potential evidentiary issues in the case, with Smartmatic seeking more internal materials from Fox.