Fox hosts can't be sued for election fraud claims but Giuliani and Powell are fair game: media law professor
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According to an attorney representing Fox News and Fox Business New personalities who are facing $2.7 billion libel lawsuit brought by voting technology company Smartmatic, the hosts -- including Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro and the recently fired Lou Dobbs -- cannot be held liable for their words about the company because they were just doing their job.

The Associated Press is reporting that lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis, which is also defending Fox, are pushing back against the lawsuit, saying the hosts were merely performing their job when they discussed allegations by the president about the integrity of the electoral process.

According to a response to the lawsuit, the Fox attorneys presented a claim that the hosts questioned Donald Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell aggressively during their appearances and thus were acting as journalists.

"The filings by the Fox personalities note instances in which they questioned Powell and Giuliani for evidence to back their claims, as well as Smartmatic's own denial of the charges. It also argues that Dobbs' statements appearing to validate the claims of his guests were constitutionally protected opinions, not statements of fact," AP reports.

In the case of Bartiromo, her lawyers asserted, "This complaint is not just meritless; it is a legal shakedown designed to chill speech and punish reporting on issues that cut to the heart of our democracy."

According to Roy Gutterman, a media law professor at Syracuse University, the network's attorneys likely have a point based on 1st Amendment grounds. But that won't apply to Giuliani and Powell.

"Whether the broadcaster is liable for providing a forum for speakers and what responsibility they have for dealing with false factual statements will be central to the court's decision," he explained with the Associated Press adding, "Still, he said, if Fox succeeds in persuading the court to dismiss the case, the individual guests — Giuliani and Powell — could still be liable for potentially false and damaging statements."

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