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Rudy Giuliani counter-sues Smartmatic and asks for voting systems company to pay his attorney fees

Rudy Giuliani, former lawyer for President Donald Trump, appears on “Meet the Press” in Washington, D.C., Sunday, April 21, 2019.

William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

  • Rudy Giuliani is asking for voting systems company Smartmatic to pay his attorney fees.
  • Giuliani filed a counterclaim in the company’s $2.7 billion 2020 election defamation lawsuit Monday.
  • In 2021, Smartmatic filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News, Rudy Giuliani, and network hosts.

Rudy Giuliani asked a New York State Supreme Court Judge to make voting systems company Smartmatic pay his attorney fees in a counterclaim filed in the company’s sprawling $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, Giuliani, and others, according to court documents.

In February 2021, Smartmatic filed the defamation lawsuit against the network, Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and current and former hosts including Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, and Maria Bartiromo.

At the time, the company claimed that Powell and Giuliani used right-wing media outlets like Fox News to amplify their baseless theories about the 2020 presidential election. 

“These defendants are primary sources of much of the false information,” the company said last February. “Their unfounded accusations were repeated by other media outlets, journalists, bloggers, and influencers.”

Now, Giuliani is claiming that because Judge David B. Cohen threw out a handful of Smartmatic’s claims against him in March that the election software company should pay for his legal fees.

“Smartmatic’s litigation tactics, including its facially implausible damages claims, are a naked attempt to attack a well-known public figure,” Giuliani’s lawyers said in the counterclaim. “This lawsuit is plainly designed to censor and chill anyone who might consider exercising their constitutional rights to cover allegations by public figures concerning Smartmatic or its voting systems that Smartmatic deems unflattering.” 

In March, Cohen ruled that Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News could move forward, rejecting Fox’s motion to dismiss the case, according to court documents.

The original lawsuit focused on 13 reports that appeared on Fox News between November and December 2020, where people on the network including hosts and guests shared false conspiracies that Smartmatic stole the election, and “was a Venezuelan company under the control of corrupt dictators from socialist and communist countries; its election technology was used in six ‘swing’ or ‘battleground’ states with close outcomes,” according to the lawsuit.

In March, Cohen dismissed all of Smartmatic’s claims against Pirro and Powell. 

Cohen also threw out some defamation claims against Giuliani due to a legal technicality, but other claims against Giuliani were allowed to proceed. 

The majority of the initial claims are still being litigated. Meanwhile, the company also filed a back-up lawsuit against Powell in a DC court, since claims against her were thrown out for jurisdictional reasons. 

By late March, Fox News appealed Cohen’s ruling allowing the lawsuit to proceed, also filing a counterclaim under New York’s Anti-SLAPP law, alleging that the outlet was simply reporting the news and hosts were sharing opinions protected by the first amendment. The network’s attorneys also claimed that Smartmatic filed the suit because the company was losing money. 

In Giuliani’s latest counterclaim, his lawyers used similar arguments, saying that the lawsuit “challenges speech that is fully protected by the First Amendment and New York law,” alleging that “there is no legal basis on which to hold Giuliani liable for the speech at issue.”

“Smartmatic is confident in its claims against Mr. Giuliani,” Smartmatic attorney J. Erik Connolly told Insider in an emailed statement. “Every court that has considered claims against individuals who spread disinformation following the 2020 U.S. election has found those claims to be meritorious.”

Attorneys representing Giuliani did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.  

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