Dominion Voting sues Fox News for $1.6 billion over 2020 election claims

Key Points
  • Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, arguing it falsely claimed that the voting company rigged the 2020 election.
  • It's the first defamation suit filed against a media outlet by the voting company.
  • Dominion argues that Fox News "sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process."
The Fox News logo is seen on an iPad on October 25, 2017.
Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems Corp filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, accusing the cable news network of falsely claiming the voting company rigged the 2020 presidential election in order to boost its ratings, Dominion said on Friday.

Dominion — which has already sued former President Donald Trump's campaign lawyer Sidney Powell and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani — argued Fox News "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.

Dominion said it filed the lawsuit in Delaware state court.

Trump, a Republican, lost the November 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden but continued to make false claims of widespread voter fraud. His supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress moved to certify the election results.

In its lawsuit, Dominion said Fox News tried to draw viewers loyal to Trump, by amplifying those false claims, including assertions that Dominion's systems changed votes despite efforts by the voting systems company to set the record straight.

"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," said a statement from the company, which is owned by Fox Corp.

"The disinformation campaign waged against our company has caused us severe damage and undermined trust in American democratic institutions," Dominion Chief Executive Joe Poulos said in a statement. "These lies also have threatened the personal safety of our employees and customers. No amount of money will repair the damage done."

Eric Coomer, a senior Dominion employee, sued Trump's re-election campaign and the owners of pro-Trump news outlets One America News Network and Newsmax Media in December. Last month, Dominion asked social media outlets to preserve posts from the networks as well as from Fox News, Trump and others.

Smartmatic, which makes voting machines, made similar claims in a defamation lawsuit that alleged Lou Dobbs and two other Fox News hosts falsely accused the company of helping to rig the election against Trump. The day after Smartmatic sued on Feb. 4, Fox canceled the weekday program "Lou Dobbs Tonight."

Fox News filed a motion to dismiss the Smartmatic lawsuit.

In apparent response to the growing number of defamation cases, conservative U.S. news outlets have begun to rely on prepared disclaimers or additional prerecorded programming to repudiate pro-Trump conspiracy theories spouted by guests and hosts.

CORRECTION: This article has been corrected to show that a senior employee of Dominion, not the voting systems company, sued pro-Donald Trump news outlets One America News Network, Newsmax Media and the Trump campaign.