The lawsuit charges that the defendants conspired to spread false claims that the company helped “steal” the US presidential election. This despite officials declaring November’s presidential election, won by Joe Biden, the most secure in US history.
The 285-page complaint filed today in New York state court by Florida-based Smartmatic USA is one of the largest libel suits ever undertaken.
The Associated Press reports that:
On January 25, a rival election-technology company, Dominion Voting Systems, which was also ensnared in Trump’s baseless effort to overturn the election, sued Guiliani and Powell for $1.3 billion.
Unlike Dominion, whose technology was used in 24 states, Smartmatic’s participation in the 2020 election was restricted to Los Angeles County, which votes heavily Democratic.
Smartmatic’s limited role notwithstanding, Fox aired at least 13 reports falsely stating or implying the company had stolen the 2020 vote in cahoots with Venezuela’s socialist government, according to the complaint.
This alleged “disinformation campaign” continued even after then-Attorney General William Barr said the Department of Justice could find no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
For instance, a Dec. 10 segment by Lou Dobbs accused Smartmatic and its CEO, Antonio Mugica, of working to flip votes through a non-existent backdoor in its voting software to carry out a “massive cyber Pearl Harbor,” the complaint alleged.
“Defendants’ story was a lie,” the complaint stated. “But, it was a story that sold.”
The complaint also alleges that Fox hosts Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro also directly benefitted from their involvement in the conspiracy. The lawsuit alleges that Fox went along with the “well-orchestrated dance” due to pressure from newcomer outlets such as Newsmax and One America News, which were stealing away conservative, pro-Trump viewers.
Fox, Giuliani and Powell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
For Smartmatic, the effects of the negative publicity were swift and devastating, the complaint alleges. Death threats, including against an executive’s 14-year-old son, poured in as Internet searches for the company surged, Smartmatic claims.
No evidence has emerged that the company rigged votes in favor of the anti-American firebrand, and for a while the Carter Center and other observers held out Venezuela as a model of electronic voting. Meanwhile, the company has expanded globally.
Former US president Donald Trump has been asked to appear in the US Senate next week and testify at his impeachment trial, where he faces the charge from House Democrats that he incited the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6.
Lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin has written to Trump asking him to testify under oath before or during his impeachment trial.
“You denied many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment. You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue,” Raskin writes.
He goes on to say that if Trump refuses to do so, an adverse inference will be made from his reluctance.
Chicago’s mayor Lori Lightfoot has demanded that the city’s teachers’ union – whose members are close to striking over safety fears – reach agreement on Covid-19 safety protocols by the end of the day and bring students back to the classroom.
Speaking during a news conference, Lightfoot was visibly angry at the Chicago Teachers Union, saying that her office and the school district officials have not received a straight answer on the union’s demands.
Here’s a clip of an impassioned Lightfoot, brought to you by a publication not often cited hereabouts, the Washington Examiner.
“We are failing those children by not giving them the option to return to school,” Lightfoot said, talking of “failing grades, depression, isolation, and so much more… our children cannot afford to wait any longer.”
Chicago teachers are not yet receiving vaccinations in large numbers, as they are in some other places, such as New York.
The Associated Press further reports:
“We waited for hours and hours last night and still did not receive a proposal from the CTU leadership, and as of this morning we are still waiting,” she said.
“We need to get a deal done and get it done today. I expect to hear from them, no more delay.”
But the threat was only implied. Lightfoot declined to say what she would do if no deal was reached by day’s end.
Part of the reason, is perhaps, that students do not have class Friday. That means the union and the city could continue to negotiate through the weekend.
But Lightfoot made it clear she is not interested in any Sunday night negotiations, telling reporters that she has no plan to be standing in front of a podium talking about negotiations.
“If you’re going to be here, you’re going to be by yourself,” she said.
Lightfoot said one thing the city is not going to do is sue the school district, as was done this week in San Francisco for the simple reason that while the mayor of San Francisco doesn’t have any authority over the school district, in Chicago she does.
Lightfoot reiterated what she has been saying for days: It is safe for children and teachers to return to schools after Chicago Public Schools spent roughly $100 million on its safety plan, including purchasing air purifiers, deep cleaning schools and offering Covid-19 testing for teachers.
But the union, which last went on strike in 2019, says infections continue and the safest option is online learning. They also argue few students are interested in returning. Less than 20% of pre-K and special education students eligible to return to class last month, or about 3,200 of 17,000, attended.
McKinsey & Co has agreed to pay nearly $600 million for its role in consulting businesses on how to sell more prescription opioid painkillers amid a nationwide overdose crisis.
“We deeply regret that we did not adequately acknowledge the tragic consequences of the epidemic unfolding in our communities,“ McKinsey global managing partner Kevin Sneader said in a statement earlier today, adding “with this agreement, we hope to be part of the solution to the opioid crisis in the US.”
Most of the money is in a $573 million settlement reached with 47 states, the District of Columbia and five US territories, but the company said it had deals with a total of 49 states.
The Associated Press writes:
Washington’s attorney general announced a separate $13.5 million deal, and West Virginia has an opioid-related announcement scheduled for Thursday.
The only remaining state that has not announced a deal with the company is Nevada.
Most of the payments will come within the next two months under the multi-state agreement.
The payments are earmarked for abating the raging overdose and addiction crisis that has deepened during the coronavirus pandemic.
Opioids, which include prescription drugs such as OxyContin and its generic cousins based on the narcotic active ingredient oxycodone, and illegal substances such as heroin and illicit fentanyl, have been linked to more than 470,000 deaths in the US since 2000.
“Even though no amount of money can bring back the lives lost, I hope our settlement provides funding for programs to help those battling opioid addiction,“ Arizona attorney general Mark Brnovich said in a statement.
McKinsey’s role in the opioid crisis came into focus in recent months in legal documents that were made public as part of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s efforts to settle claims against it through a bankruptcy court in New York.
They showed the company long worked with Purdue to boost sales even as the extent of the opioid epidemic became clear.
Some documents showed it was trying to “supercharge” flagging OxyContin sales in 2013.
While McKinsey emerged as a target of opioid investigations recently, there have been thousands of lawsuits filed by government entities against companies that make and distribute prescription drugs. Some of those could go to trial this year.
Other settlements have happened or are in the works, including with Purdue, which is attempting to settle with state and local governments after reaching a deal last year to plead guilty to federal criminal charges and settle a civil case.
Separately, certain members of the Sackler family who own the company, agreed to pay $225 million in a civil settlement, but admitted no wrongdoing.