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Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Voting company Smartmatic on Thursday filed a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, some of the network's top hosts, Rudy Giuliani, and Sidney Powell for starting a "disinformation campaign" against the company.

Why it matters: This is the second voting company to file a lawsuit against Giuliani and Powell, following Dominion Voting Systems' two $1.3 billion defamation lawsuits against the pro-Trump lawyers.

  • Dominion warned Fox News last month that lawsuits were imminent.
  • In comparison to Dominion, which was used in several states, Smartmatic machines were only used in Los Angeles County.

Details: The 285-page lawsuit, which was filed in the New York State Supreme Court, specifically accuses Giuliani, Powell, Fox News, and hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro of lying about Smartmatic to convince the public that the 2020 presidential election was plagued with fraud.

  • "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 investing a story," the lawsuit says.
  • "They needed a villain. They needed someone to blame. They needed someone whom they could get others to hate … Without any true villain, Defendants invented one. Defendants decided to make Smartmatic the villain in their story."

The bottom line: "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," Smartmatic wrote in its lawsuit.

What they're saying: "FOX News Media is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion. We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court," Fox said in a statement.

The big picture: Defamation lawsuits have so far proven somewhat effective in curbing the spread of disinformation about voter fraud on cable TV, although political disinformation about the coronavirus and the Capitol attack on Jan. 6 is still prevalent on some conservative networks, particularly in primetime.

  • Earlier this week, NewsMax co-anchor Bob Sellers cut off MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a Trump ally, when he tried to make such claims, saying: "While there were some clear evidence of some cases of vote fraud and election irregularities, the election results in every state were certified. Newsmax accepts the results as legal and final. The courts have also supported that view.”
  • Following threats from Smartmatic in December, Fox News aired a video interview with Eddie Perez, an independent voting technology expert, debunking any claims made on the network that Smartmatic software was used to "delete, change or alter anything to related to vote tabulation."

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Getty Images photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post, George Frey/Bloomberg

Four conspiracy theorists marched into the Oval Office. It was early evening on Friday, Dec. 18 — more than a month after the election had been declared for Joe Biden, and four days after the Electoral College met in every state to make it official.

Updated 31 mins ago - Sports

Katie Ledecky wins gold in first women's 1500m freestyle

Team USA's Katie Ledecky celebrates after winning the final of the women's 1,500m freestyle swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on Wednesday. Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images)

Katie Ledecky took home the Olympic gold medal in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle swimming race Tuesday evening, becoming the first female swimmer to win the newly added division. Team USA's Erica Sullivan won silver.

Of note: The Tokyo Games mark the first time that the long-distance race has been open to women, and Ledecky paid tribute to her predecessors after the race. "I just think of all the great U.S. swimmers who didn’t have a chance to swim that event," she said on NBC.

Updated 41 mins ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Katie Ledecky celebrates with teammate Erica Sullivan after winning the women’s 1500m freestyle final. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

🚨: Katie Ledecky wins gold in first women's 1500m freestyle

🤸🏾‍♀️: Simone Biles pulls out of gymnastics team finals, citing her mental health

🎾: "This one sucks more than the others," Naomi Osaka says on upset loss

⚽️: USA women's soccer ties Australia, propelling them to the quarterfinals

🏊‍♀️: Teen swimmer Lydia Jacoby wins first U.S. women's Tokyo Games gold

👟: World Athletics president supports reviewing marijuana rules in doping

🏄‍♀️: American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage - Medal tracker