Fox News and Dominion settle election character assassination suit

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Dominion lawyer: Fox settled defamation suit for $787.5 million

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WILMINGTON, Del.– Fox Corp. and its cable television networks concurred Tuesday to pay $7875 million to Dominion Voting Systems to settle a disparagement suit over incorrect claims that Dominion’s makers swayed the result of the 2020 governmental election.

The settlement, which followed a 12- member jury had actually been seated in the event in Delaware Superior Court, avoided a weekslong trial that might have seen leading Fox television hosts and network manager Rupert Murdoch openly affirm.

The offer, which will cost Fox almost half of the $1.6 billion that Dominion initially required, was struck as opening arguments were postponed for hours amidst speculation that the celebrations were going over a resolution of the case.

Dominion CEO John Poulos, signed up with by members of the Dominion Voting Systems legal group, talks to members of the media outside the Leonard Williams Justice Center in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 18, 2023.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds|AFP|Getty Images

Dominion CEO John Poulos informed press reporters outside court that the settlement was “historic.”

“Fox has admitted to telling lies about Dominion that caused enormous damage to my company, our employees and the customers that we serve,” Poulus stated.

“Nothing can ever make up for that. Throughout this process we have sought accountability and believed the evidence brought to light through this case underscored the consequences of spreading lies. Truthful reporting in the media is essential to our democracy,” he stated.

Superior Court Judge Eric Davis called the jury and 12 alternate jurors into the courtroom soon prior to 4 p.m. ET to reveal that they would not need to hear any statement or examine any proof.

“The parties have resolved this case,” Davis informed them.

“Without you, the parties would not have been able to resolve their situation … although it’s short, not the six weeks you’ve expected, you have done your duty,” the judge stated.

Justin Nelson (2R), signed up with by fellow members of the Dominion Voting Systems legal group, leave the Leonard Williams Justice Center in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 18, 2023.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds|AFP|Getty Images

In a declaration, Fox News Media stated, “We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems.”

“We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false,” Fox News Media stated. “This settlement reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards. We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues.”

The fit by Dominion, which offers ballot makers and election software application, had actually argued that Fox News and its sis network Fox Business “intentionally and falsely” blamed Dominion for the 2020 loss of previous President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden by airing unverified claims about the business.

Fox had actually stated in court filings that its hosts’ declarations about Dominion were safeguarded by the FirstAmendment The business likewise stated Dominion had actually disappointed that the declarations were made with so-called real malice, which is the limit for civil character assassination claims.

Lawyers for Fox stated absolutely nothing when requested for remark as they left court Tuesday.

The settlement prevents, for the minute, the threat of Murdoch and Fox hosts dealing with hostile questioning in public over the claims made about Dominion on the conservative news networks after the 2020 election.

The prepared witnesses in the event had actually consisted of Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Jeanine Pirro.

Also slated to affirm was Lou Dobbs, whose Fox Business program was canceled in 2021.

Fox legal representatives leave after Dominion Voting Systems and Fox settled the character assassination suit over Fox’s protection of exposed election-rigging claims, in Wilmington, Delaware, April 18, 2023.

Mark Makela|Reuters

Fox deals with a comparable character assassination suit by another ballot device business, Smartmatic, over the business’s work throughout the 2020 election.

Smartmatic’s lawyer J. Erik Connolly, in a declaration, stated, “Dominion’s litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox’s disinformation campaign.”

“Smartmatic will expose the rest,” Connolly stated. “Smartmatic remains committed to clearing its name, recouping the significant damage done to the company, and holding Fox accountable for undermining democracy.”

Dominion likewise has pending character assassination claims connected to incorrect claims about the 2020 election versus Newsmax Media, One America News Network, Overstock creator Patrick Byrne, My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, previous Trump legal representative Rudy Giuliani, lawyer Sidney Powell and others.

Stephen Shackelford, a legal representative for Dominion, stated outside the court Tuesday, “Money is accountability. And we got that today from Fox.”

“But we’re not done yet. We’ve got some other people who have some accountability coming toward them,” Shackelford stated.

He did not react when CNBC asked if he anticipated settlements in other character assassination cases Dominion has actually submitted.

Correction: This story has actually been modified to clarify that Dominion CEO John Poulos informed press reporters outside court that, as part of the settlement, “Fox has admitted to telling lies.” It has actually likewise been modified to suggest that Maria Bartiromo was amongst the prepared witnesses in the event. A previous variation misspelled her name.