Fox Business host Lou Dobbs aired a segment on Friday that amounted to a fact-checking refutation of claims that he and guests have made about an election tech company Smartmatic and its role in the 2020 presidential election, after the company threatened legal action.
Other similar segments will be shown on Justice with Judge Jeanine on Saturday and Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo, a Fox News spokesperson said. Lisa Boothe will host Judge Jeanine, as Jeanine Pirro is off for the holidays
Earlier this week, Smartmatic announced that it had threatened legal action against Fox News, Newsmax and One America News Network “for publishing false and defamatory statements,” after talking heads on the outlets have pushed claims of election fraud, including unfounded conspiracy theories of rigged voting machine companies.
Smartmatic sent legal demand letters to the networks, arguing that “these organizations could have easily discovered the falsity of the statements and implications made about Smartmatic by investigating their statements before publishing them to millions of viewers and readers.” The company said that its role in the 2020 election was limited to working on Los Angeles County’s publicly owned voting system, even though anchors and guests have advanced claims that it had a much greater role.
On Friday, Dobbs opened a segment by saying that there were “lots of opinions about the integrity of the elections, the irregularities of mail-in voting, of election voting machines and software.” He then went to Eddie Perez, global director of technology development and open standard for the Open Source Election Technology Institute.
In the segment, an unidentified off-camera voice asks Perez, “Have you seen any evidence that Smartmatic software was used to flip votes anywhere in the U.S. in this election?”
Perez responded, “I have not seen any evidence that Smartmatic software was used to delete, change, alter anything related to vote tabulation.” He also said that he was not aware of them having any other direct customers with election officials beyond Los Angeles this cycle. He also said that Smartmatic and another company that has been targeted by President Donald Trump, Dominion Voting Systems, are “two completely separate companies.”
“The ballots that are cast in the United States are tabulated in the United States,” Perez said, refuting another claim about votes being tabulated overseas.
In its 20-page letter, Smartmatic’s attorney J. Erik Connolly cited statements made by Dobbs and Bartiromo, as well as guests who have appeared on their shows including two lawyers who have been claiming election fraud, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who have represented the Trump campaign.
Among other things, Connolly cited comments that Dobbs has made, including a Nov. 18 show in which he said, “I am alarmed because of what is occurring in plain sight during this 2020 election for president of the United States. The circumstances and events are eerily reminiscent of what happened with Smartmatic software electronically changing votes in the 2013 presidential election in Venezuela.”
In the letter, Connolly wrote that Smartmatic has no operations in Venezuela, but did election projects in the country from 2004 to 2017. It said that it stopped doing business in the country after the National Electoral Counsel announced results “that differed from results reflected in Smartmatic’s voting systems.” It then publicly condemned election authorities and ceased operations there.
Connolly wrote that the network “would have easily discovered the falsity of statements and implications being made about Smartmatic by performing even a modicum of investigation.”
Smartmatic demanded a retraction “with the same intensity and level of coverage that you used to defame the company in the first place,” including that it be published on multiple occasions and across network platforms.
“Beyond the financial harm you have done to Smartmatic, your disinformation campaign has created personal risk for the men and women who work at the company,” Connolly wrote. “Smartmatic and its employees and management have received countless threats in the wake of your reports.”
A Smartmatic spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Dominion Voting Systems, meanwhile, has demanded that Powell retract her statements about their voting systems. “You reckless disinformation campaign is predicated on lies that have endangered Dominion’s business and the lives of its employees,” Thomas A. Clare and Megan L. Meier, two attorneys for the company, wrote in their letter.
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