Huge defamation case abruptly ends on first day of trial.
A potential blockbuster trial over repeated lies aired by Fox “News” about Dominion Voting Systems after the 2020 presidential election was cut short as the Rupert Murdoch-owned media company opted to settle rather than fight.
The agreement was announced Tuesday afternoon, after the jury had been seated and as opening arguments were set to begin in the Delaware court where the case was being tried.
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Dominion CEO John Poulos said in comments outside the court that “Fox has admitted to telling lies about Dominion that caused enormous damage to my company, our employees and the customers that we serve.” He added that “Truthful reporting in the media is essential to our democracy.”
Fox agreed to pay $787.5 million as part of the settlement, Dominion attorney Justin Nelson said. Dominion had originally sought $1.6 billion in damages in the case. Further details of the agreement were not released.
In its lawsuit, filed just over a year ago, Dominion said “After the November 3, 2020 Presidential Election, viewers began fleeing Fox in favor of media outlets endorsing the lie that massive fraud caused President Trump to lose the election.”
It continued “They saw Fox as insufficiently supportive of President Trump, including because Fox was the first network to declare that President Trump lost Arizona. So Fox set out to lure viewers back — including President Trump himself — by intentionally and falsely blaming Dominion for President Trump’s loss.”
Fox has also been sued by Smartmatic, another voting machine maker, which is seeking $2.7 billion in damages.