Lawsuits are coming.
Dominion Voting Systems, one of the targets of President Donald Trump‘s baseless conspiracy theories about the election that he lost, has warned Fox News, major Fox personalities, other conservative media outlets, radio host Rush Limbaugh and conservative lawyers that defamation litigation against them is “imminent.”
The voting machine company this week has sent 21 letters to the White House, Fox News, its hosts Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, the news outlets Newsmax, One America News Network, Epoch Times and others demanding they stop making defamatory claims about Dominion, and that they preserve any documents they have relating to the firm.
“We write to provide formal notice that litigation regarding these issues is imminent,” Dominion’s lawyers Thomas Clare and Megan Meier wrote to Fox News Media General Counsel Lily Fu Claffee in one of the letters, which were provided to CNBC.
In their letters to individual news hosts, including Bartiromo, a former CNBC employee, the lawyers demanded that they “cease and desist making defamatory claims against Dominion,” saying that they had “featured and continue to feature the proponents of this misinformation campaign against” the company.
Others who have received similar letters warning of coming litigation and demands for document preservation include Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the attorney L. Lin Wood, who has challenged the presidential election results in Georgia, and Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly.
CNBC has requested comment on the letters from their recipients.
During an interview Thursday on CNN, Dominion CEO John Poulos said the company would be taking legal action against several people “promoting lies and amplifying those lies … on various media platforms since Election Day.”
“We will not be overlooking anybody,” Poulos said, when asked if the company would sue Trump.
Trump since losing the national popular vote to Joe Biden by more than 7 millions votes has promoted a series of false claims to argue that he won the election in a landslide, and that ballots for him were fraudulently suppressed, while votes for Biden were artificially added in a handful of states where the results were particularly close.
On Nov. 12, just nine days after Election Day, Trump tweeted a claim that “DOMINION DELETED 2.7 MILLION TRUMP VOTES NATIONWIDE.”
One of the most ardent proponents of the conspiracy theories about Dominion has been Sidney Powell, who last month was booted from the team of lawyers working for Trump’s campaign to overturn Biden’s win because her extreme claims were being widely criticized. Since last week, Powell has met with Trump at least once, and visited the White House three times in connection with her efforts.
Dominion’s lawyers have also sent Powell a letter warning of defamation claims.
In his interview with CNN, Poulos said Powell’s claims that his company’s voting machine features software created “at the direction” of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a boogeyman for right-wing media, and that Dominion has links to the Clinton Foundation and George Soros are “complete lies.”
Dominion’s security director, Eric Coomer, sued the Trump campaign, Giuliani, Powell, and a number of conservative media outlets.
Coomer’s suit says that he has become the target of death threats and other harmful communications because of the defendants’ false claims made about Dominion’s machines.
On its web site, Dominion has said that “disinformation” about the company represents a threat to democracy.
“Baseless claims about the integrity of the system or the accuracy of the results have been dismissed by election authorities, subject matter experts and third-party fact-checkers,” the company says on its web site.
“Malicious and misleading false claims about Dominion have resulted in dangerous levels of threats and harassment against the company and its employees, as well as election officials.”
Last week, another voting machine company, Smartmatic, said that it had issued legal notices and retraction demand letters to Fox News, Newsmax, and OAN “for publishing false and defamatory statements.”
“The demand letters identify dozens of factually inaccurate statements made by each of the organizations as part of a ‘disinformation campaign’ to injure Smartmatic and discredit the 2020 U.S. election,” the company said at the time.
“Smartmatic had nothing to do with the “controversies” that certain public and private figures have alleged regarding the 2020 U.S. election,” the company said. ” Multiple fact-checkers have consistently debunked these false statements with stunning consistency and regularity.”
Smartmatic said that despite false claims to the contrary, the company’s “only involvement in the United States in the 2020 election was as the manufacturing partner, system integrator, and software developer for Los Angeles County’s publicly owned voting system.”
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