New York (CNN Business)The fallout against Fox News and its alleged role in touting false 2020 election claims has now unfolded into another defamation lawsuit. Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion lawsuit on Friday for what it says was an “orchestrated defamatory campaign.”
“Fox kept spouting these lies about Dominion… on their airwaves, even while they were being told the truth over and over again,” Stephen Shackelford, attorney for Dominion Voting Systems and partner at Susman Godfrey LLP, told CNN’s Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” on Sunday. He added that Dominion sent Fox multiple emails, letters and retraction demands regarding its claims that Dominion altered votes. He also said bipartisan officials told the network that the claims against it were false and that the company’s machines worked properly.CNN has not independently verified Dominion sent Fox retraction demands. It was not immediately clear to which bipartisan officials Shackelford was referring. When asked for comment Sunday, Fox pointed to a previously released statement that reads, “FOX News Media is proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court.”The result of Fox News’ claims has been “enormous and irreparable economic harm,” the lawsuit alleges. Following the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump asserted the election had been stolen and rigged against him. After Trump’s claims, a number of baseless conspiracy theories from Trump supporters and right-wing media about fraud and overturning the election began to circulate. Read MoreShackelford told Stelter on Sunday that Fox repeatedly featured allies and members of Trump’s camp, including Trump’s former lawyer Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, who he says endorsed lies about Dominion and stated them as fact — including some of the network’s own anchors. The network did feature a Dominion spokesperson as a guest on its shows in November to address Trump’s campaign claims, but Shackelford claims that it was a “much smaller viewership” and wasn’t promoted as widely as other shows that included Powell and Giuliani. “You can’t get away with defamation by saying the truth in the morning and then lying through your teeth in the afternoon,” Shackelford told Stelter. “That doesn’t cut it. If that were the case, all any media organization would have to do is issue a retraction demand after they’ve done all the damage, and that would be it, but that’s not the law of defamation,” he said. Fox News said in a statement on Friday it was “proud” of its 2020 election coverage, deeming it as the “highest tradition of American journalism.” The company further added it will “vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court.”Dominion’s lawsuit argues that Fox knowingly amplified false claims that votes were altered and inaccurately counted by Dominion in an effort to bolster its ratings and viewership. It also stated its employees had been subject to death threats as a result of the cable news giant’s baseless claims. In February, Smartmatic, another voting technology company, filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, Giuliani and Powell for what it called a “disinformation campaign.”In a statement on behalf of the network and the named hosts issued after the lawsuit was filed, a Fox News spokesperson said, “FOX News Media is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion. We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court.”Asked for comment, Powell said in a statement in February, “I have not received notice or a copy of this alleged lawsuit. However, your characterization of the claims shows that this is just another political maneuver motivated by the radical left that has no basis in fact or law.” In a statement of his own, after the lawsuit was filed, Giuliani said, “The Smartmatic lawsuit presents another golden opportunity for discovery. I look forward to litigating with them.”Dominion is currently suing Fox News, but it’s unclear if, like Smartmatic, the company plans to sue others.”We have not ruled out any potential defendants who participated in this defamation campaign against Dominion … but today we’re focused on Fox,” Shackelford said. — CNN’s Oliver Darcy contributed to this report.