The "red slime" lawsuit that could sink right-wing media

In an era of brazen political lies, Mr. Mugica has emerged as an unlikely figure with the power to put the genie back in the bottle. Last week, his lawyer sent scathing letters to the Fox News Channel, Newsmax and OAN demanding that they immediately, forcefully clear his company’s name — and that they retain documents for a planned defamation lawsuit. He has, legal experts say, an unusually strong case. And his new lawyer is J. Erik Connolly, who not coincidentally won the largest settlement in the history of American media defamation in 2017, at least $177 million, for a beef producer whose “lean finely textured beef” was described by ABC News as “pink slime.”…

Mr. Mugica isn’t the only potential plaintiff. Dominion Voting Systems has hired another high-powered libel lawyer, Tom Clare, who has threatened legal action against Ms. Powell and the Trump campaign. Mr. Clare said in an emailed statement that “we are moving forward on the basis that she will not retract those false statements and that it will be necessary for Dominion to take aggressive legal action, both against Ms. Powell and the many others who have enabled and amplified her campaign of defamation by spreading damaging falsehoods about Dominion.”…

The letters written by lawyers for Smartmatic and Dominion are “extremely powerful,” said Floyd Abrams, one of the country’s most prominent First Amendment lawyers, in an email to The New York Times. “The repeated accusations against both companies are plainly defamatory and surely have done enormous reputational and financial harm to both.”…

“It is far too early to predict how the cases, if commenced, will end,” he said. “But it is not too early to say that they would be highly dangerous to those sued.”