Smartmatic is a software company that works with election systems. They became the target of a systematic campaign by Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sydney Powell and Fox News personalities Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro, who accused the company of rigging the votes in order to enable Joe Biden to win. The puzzling thing is Smartmatic’s only involvement in the election was in Los Angeles county where there was never any need to to fraudulently aid Biden to win since California was assured. So why pick on this company? The answer may be that its founder Antonio Mujica is originally from Venezuela. Aha! There was the smoking gun!
On that flimsy basis this bunch of loonies spun their fantastic yarn of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, George Soros, and the international Communist movement working to steal the election from Trump. Smartmatic has had enough and, like the Dominion Voting Systems company that manufactures voting machines who were also accused by this crew of stealing the election, they have initiated a massive $2.7 billion lawsuit against these five people as well as Fox News and its parent Fox Corporation.
The baseless conspiracy theories peddled about Smartmatic, which mimicked those pushed against Dominion, falsely suggested that the company’s technology was used throughout the country and allowed the November vote to be rigged against Trump.
Some strains of the conspiracy theory pushed on Fox aimed to tie the company to the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez. Other strains suggested that Dominion used Smartmatic’s voting software in swing states and that votes were exported out of the country to be tabulated; both assertions were false and Smartmatic pointed out in its lawsuit that it doesn’t work with Dominion as the two companies are competitors.
Smartmatic’s lawyer, J. Erik Connolly, told CNN Business that the case is one of the most “straightforward” he has ever seen. Connolly, who secured one of the largest defamation settlements ever in the “pink slime” case against ABC News, told CNN Business that because Smartmatic’s role in the 2020 general election was limited to providing services to Los Angeles County, he could easily prove all the conspiracy theories false.
“By being able to say Smartmatic was in Los Angeles County and nowhere else, I’ve been able to prove a lie of everything they essentially said with one salient fact,” Connolly told CNN. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and that might be one of the easiest ways to demonstrate falsity that I’ve ever had.”
The filing itself is a doozy. Just the introduction alone is something to savor, because it is no the kind of thing you normally see in legal documents in how they portray the sheer recklessness with which they propagated flat-out lies.
- The Earth is round. Two plus two equals four. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States. The election was not stolen, rigged, or fixed. These are facts. They are demonstrable and irrefutable.
- Defendants have always known these facts. They knew Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 U.S. election. They knew the election was not stolen. They knew the election was not rigged or fixed. They knew these truths just as they knew the Earth is round and two plus two equals four.
- Defendants did not want Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to win the election. They wanted President Donald Trump and Vice President Michael Pence to win re-election. Defendants were disappointed. But they also saw an opportunity to capitalize on President Trump’s popularity by inventing a story. Defendants decided to tell people that the election was stolen from President Trump and Vice President Pence.
- Defendants had an obvious problem with their story. They needed a villain. They needed someone to blame. They needed someone whom they could get others to hate. A story of good versus evil, the type that would incite an angry mob, only works if the storyteller provides the audience with someone who personifies evil.
- Without any true villain, Defendants invented one. Defendants decided to make Smartmatic the villain in their story. Smartmatic is an election technology and software company. It was incorporated in Delaware and its U.S. operations are headquartered in Florida. In the 2020 U.S. election, Smartmatic provided election technology and software in Los Angeles County. Nowhere else. Smartmatic had a relatively small, non-controversial role in the 2020 U.S. election.
- Those facts would not do for Defendants. So, the Defendants invented new ones. In their story, Smartmatic was a Venezuelan company under the control of corrupt dictators from socialist countries. In their story, Smartmatic’s election technology and software were used in many of the states with close outcomes. And, in their story, Smartmatic was responsible for stealing the 2020 election by switching and altering votes to rig the election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
- Having invented their story, and created their villain, Defendants set about spreading the word. In November and December 2020, Fox News broadcasted thirteen (13) reports stating and implying that Smartmatic had stolen the 2020 U.S. election. They repeated the story in articles and social media postings. Night after night, publication after publication, Fox News reached out to its millions of viewers and readers around the world with a story: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris did not win the 2020 election; Smartmatic stole the election for them.
- Defendants’ story evolved over time as they claimed evidence had come to their attention supporting the story.
- Millions of individuals who saw and read Defendants’ reports believed them to be true. Smartmatic and its officers began to receive hate mail and death threats. Smartmatic’s clients and potential clients began to panic. The company’s reputation for providing transparent, auditable, and secure election technology and software was irreparably harmed. Overnight, Smartmatic went from an under-the-radar election technology and software company with a track record of success to the villain in Defendants’ disinformation campaign.
- Smartmatic’s loss was Defendants’ gain. Fox News used the story to preserve its grip on viewers and readers and curry favors with the outgoing administration – one of their anchors was even able to get a pardon for her ex-husband. Ms. Powell used the story to raise money and enrich herself. Mr. Giuliani used the story to guarantee himself a flow of funds from the sitting President and to sell products. Defendants knew the story could not change the outcome of the election. It could, and did, make them money.
- The story, of course, did more than just make Defendants’ money and jeopardize Smartmatic’s survival. The story undermined people’s belief in democracy. The story turned neighbor against neighbor. The story led a mob to attack the U.S. Capitol. Defendants started a fire for selfish and financial reasons and they cared not the damage their story caused to Smartmatic, its officers and employees, and the country.
- With this action, Smartmatic says: Enough. Facts matter. Truth matters. Defendants engaged in a conspiracy to spread disinformation about Smartmatic. They lied. And they did so knowingly and intentionally. Smartmatic seeks to hold them accountable for those lies and for the damage that their lies have caused.
It is a pretty good summary of what happened after the election.
You may recall that Dobbs, Bartiromo, and Pirro all put on the identical odd, stilted interview with an anonymous interviewer of a computer expert Eddie Perez challenging their claims.
This is very bizarre. Lou Dobbs ran a segment tonight basically debunking his own lies about Smartmatic voting machines pic.twitter.com/FDM91SPtT1
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 19, 2020
It was clearly something that had been ordered by Fox lawyers alarmed by the possibility of lawsuits. They will now try to use that clip to argue that their coverage was ‘fair and balanced’ and also claim that they are ‘opinion’ shows that should not be held to the standard of news. Let’s see if the court buys that.
Now it appears that Fox Business News has canceled Dobbs’s show.
Lou Dobbs, by far the highest-rated host on Fox Business, has just been canned by the network.
I can't underscore how rare this is. Ratings are normally a shield. Fox Biz viewership is low overall, but Dobbs was the most popular guy. Yet he's cancelled.https://t.co/FDIBk1IkBN
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 5, 2021
Will Bartiromo and Pirro be next?