Fox, Dominion Reach Settlement Agreement in Much-Scrutinized Defamation Trial

Fox Corporation and Dominion Voting Systems agreed to settle a much-discussed $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit mere hours after a jury had been seated to consider the matter in Delaware’s Superior Court.

Attorneys for the two sides had been set to deliver opening statements to the jury Tuesday afternoon. But that activity was delayed after Judge Eric M. Davis called for a lunch break. When he finally returned to the courtroom two hours later than originally planned, the matter was moot.

“The parties have resolved their case,” the judge said, without releasing any terms of the agreement between the two sides. Earlier Tuesday, Dominion had asserted it was not backing off its assertion that Fox had caused damages of more than $1.6 billion to its business and operations.

At issue in the case were damages Dominion alleged it was owed after Fox News aired false claims about its actions and influence on the 2020 election. It is the second legal proceeding made against Fox News for its coverage of the aftermath of the 2020 race for the White House. Smartmatic, a separate voting technology company, has filed a massive $2.7 billion suit against Fox News. Both suits alleged that Fox News falsely claimed the companies had rigged the election, repeated items about the matter and then refused to engage in efforts to set the record straight. The 2020 election was not fixed and its results were certified by multiple legal processes

The legal case had already generated intense scrutiny, with documents, emails and texts from senior Fox executives and well-known Fox News anchors and hosts all suggesting many people at the company knew they were disseminating conspiracy theories around the 2020 presidential election and Dominion Voting’s role in it.

The trial would have put the inner workings of Fox News on full display. Dominion had been prepared to summon Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Bret Baier from the network, as well as CEO Suzanne Scott and even Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of Fox Corp. himself.

“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 said in a statement. “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.”

More to come…

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