Understanding the burden of ‘actual malice’ in high-profile defamation cases

My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell speaks as President Donald Trump listens.
My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell speaks as then-President Donald Trump listens during a briefing about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, D.C., in March 2020. Lindell, an avid supporter of President Donald Trump, who has continued to push the notion of election fraud since Trump lost to Joe Biden in the presidential election in November, said his products will no longer be carried in the stores of some retailers, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl's.
Alex Brandon | AP Photo 2020

Fox News would like the court to throw out a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against the company and a handful of its TV personalities.

Smartmatic, an election technology company, alleges that its reputation and future business prospects were harmed by the network’s false claims that the company helped rig the election against former President Donald Trump.

Over the past few weeks, there’s been a spate of similar defamation lawsuits related to the 2020 election, including one filed Monday against Minnesota-based MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Two First Amendment experts joined host Kerri Miller for a conversation about the high burden of proof needed to prevail in defamation cases involving public figures and the implications of these cases for free speech.


  • Lyrissa Lidsky is the dean of the University of Missouri School of Law where she focuses on the First Amendment and tort law.

  • RonNell Andersen Jones is a law professor at the University of Utah’s College of Law where she focuses on media law.

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