Dominion Voting Systems on Friday filed a $1.6 billion US defamation lawsuit against Fox News, arguing that in an effort to boost faltering ratings, the cable news giant falsely claimed that the voting company had rigged the 2020 election.
It's the first defamation suit filed against a media outlet by the voting company, which was founded in Toronto by John Poulos and James Hoover.
Dominion was a target of misleading, false and bizarre claims spread by President Donald Trump and his allies in the aftermath of Trump's election loss to Joe Biden. Those claims helped spur on rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a violent siege that left five people dead, including a police officer. The siege led to Trump's historic second impeachment.
Dominion argues that Fox News, which amplified inaccurate assertions that Dominion altered votes, "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 obtained by The Associated Press.
The company argues that Fox News, a network that features several pro-Trump personalities, pushed the false claims to explain the former president's loss. The cable giant lost viewers after the election and was seen by some Trump supporters as not being supportive enough of the Republican.
Attorneys for Dominion said Fox News's behaviour differs greatly from that of other media outlets that reported on the claims.
"This was a conscious, knowing business decision to endorse and repeat and broadcast these lies in order to keep its viewership," said attorney Justin Nelson.