Voting machine company Smartmatic on Thursday became the second industry firm to strike back against unsupported claims of fraud linked to its machines, filing a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against several defendants, according to the New York Times.

The defendants include Fox Corp. and its subsidiary Fox News, as well as three of the network's anchors, along with two attorneys involved in spreading former President Donald Trump's false claims of widespread voter fraud that tipped the Nov. 3 election in favor of President Joe Biden.

The suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, accuses attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell of creating the false narrative about Smartmatic's voting equipment and Fox News and its anchors – Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro – of joining "the conspiracy to defame and disparage Smartmatic and its election technology and software."

This court filing comes in the wake of suits filed last month by Dominion Voting Systems seeking $1.3 billion in damages from Giuliani and more than $1 billion from Powell.

The false claims of malfeasance by the voting machine companies were central in Trump's attempts to invalidate the results of the Nov. 3 election, attempts that culminated in a deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol while Congress debated the certification of the Electoral College voting.

Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica, also the company's founders, on Thursday told CNN Business there was no alternative other than filing the lawsuit.

"The disinformation campaign that was launched against us is an obliterating one," Mugica said. "For us, this is existential, and we have to take action."

The lawsuit claims Giuliani, Powell and the Fox News anchors deliberately lied about voting machine fraud in order to give Trump supporters a target to solidify the former President's false claims about voting irregularities in battleground states, most notably the hotly contested election in Georgia.

"They needed a villain," the suit alleges. "They needed someone to blame. They needed someone whom they could get others to hate. A story of good versus evil, the type that would incite an angry mob, only works if the storyteller provides the audience with someone who personifies evil.

"Without any try villain, defendants invented one. Defendants decided to make Smartmatic the villain in their story."

Fox News denied the allegations, standing behind its reporting of the 2020 election and its aftermath. However, the network in December – along with the conservative news channel Newsmax – walked back claims of fraud by both Smartmatic and Dominion in the face of threats of legal action by the companies.

Powell released a brief statement in response to Smartmatic's lawsuit after she was contacted by CNN Business.

"I have not received notice or a copy of this alleged lawsuit," Powell said in the statement. "However, your characterization of the claims shows that this is just another political maneuver by the radical left that has no basis in fact or law."

Giuliani had earlier claimed the suit filed by Dominion was designed to intimidate him and to "censor the exercise of free speech."

The First Amendment is being widely misinterpreted, according to some constitutional experts, by conservative politicians and supporters to counter private social media companies such as Twitter, Facebook and others that have suspended user accounts that had been spreading misinformation or calling for violence.

Rudy Giuliani used Ukraine sources now on the US Treasury blacklist to compile unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against President-elect Joe Biden Rudy Giuliani used Ukraine sources now on the US Treasury blacklist to compile unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against President-elect Joe Biden Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN