Rudy Giuliani gets hit with 2 more counts in Smartmatic's defamation lawsuit

Rudy Giuliani
Smartmatic is suing former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani for defamation.Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photos
  • Rudy Giuliani has to face two more claims in Smartmatic's defamation lawsuit.

  • An appeals court reinstated the defamation claims from the election tech company over 2020 conspiracy theories.

  • The court also gave Smartmatic a shot at suing Fox Corporation, the parent company of Fox News.

A New York appeals court on Tuesday reinstated two claims in Smartmatic's defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani over the lawyer's false claims that the election technology company rigged the 2020 election.

Smartmatic first filed its lawsuit in February 2021 against the conservative media network; its hosts Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and Lou Dobbs; and Trump lawyers Giuliani and Sidney Powell. The lawsuit alleged Giuliani and Powell pushed a false theory that Smartmatic had flipped votes from then-President Trump to now-President Biden, and Fox News either egged them on or failed to sufficiently challenge those claims.

In March, a lower court dismissed two of the 16 counts filed against Giuliani, an attorney who fought on behalf of former President Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

The new decision, from New York's appellate division, lets those two counts stand.

An attorney representing Giuliani didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Tuesday's decision also reinstated Jeanine Pirro, a Fox News host, as a defendant in the case.

Smartmatic has also tried to include Fox News's parent company, Fox Corporation, as a defendant in the case. A lower court tossed that claim but the appeals court gave the company another chance to bolster its argument.

Smartmatic plans to file an amended lawsuit that details the involvement of Fox Corporation chairperson Rupert Murdoch and CEO Lachlan Murdoch, Smartmatic attorney Erik J. Connolly said in a statement.

"While recognizing that the complaint adequately alleged claims for defamation and disparagement by Fox News, the appellate court required Smartmatic to further identify the specific individuals at Fox Corporation responsible for the defamatory publications," Connolly said. "Smartmatic will do so."

lachlan rupert murdoch
Lachlan Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch, who run Fox News's parent company Fox Corporation, were both deposed in a similar lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems.Adrian Edwards/GC Images

Fox News has fought vigorously against the case, claiming it was simply doing its job by reporting on Trump's claims about the election.

"There is nothing more newsworthy than covering the president of the United States and his lawyers making allegations of voter fraud," a Fox News spokesperson told Insider. "We are confident we will prevail as freedom of the press is foundational to our democracy and must be protected, in addition to the damages claims being outrageous, unsupported, and not rooted in sound financial analysis, serving as nothing more than a flagrant attempt to deter our journalists from doing their jobs."

The portions of Smartmatic's lawsuit against Powell were moved to a court in Washington, DC, where the case remains ongoing.

Smartmatic's litigation runs parallel to a separate set of lawsuits from Dominion Voting Systems, another election technology company caught up in false conspiracy theories about the presidential election.

Dominion's lawsuit against Fox News is set to go to trial in April in Delaware. Fox Corporation is a defendant in that lawsuit and the technology company was able to depose Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, court records show.

"Hopefully the defendants are finally realizing they will be held accountable for the lies they intentionally spread about Smartmatic following the 2020 Presidential election," said Smartmatic's CEO Antonio Mugica said in a statement, adding: "The Fox defendants left us with no choice but to pursue legal action to repair the damage they caused to Smartmatic's reputation and business."

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