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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Fox News, Dominion Reach $787M Settlement, Trial Avoided in Defamation Lawfare Suit

'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... '

(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) Fox News avoided a potentially ugly and grueling court challenge in a blockbuster $1.6-billion defamation lawsuit, agreeing hours after the beginning of the trial Tuesday to settle with Dominion Voting Systems for a reported $787 million.

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems,” a Fox spokesperson said after the agreement was announced. “We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. 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 settlement will also allow some of the network’s biggest personalities, such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Maria Bartiromo, and Fox founder Rupert Murdoch, to avoid having to take the witness stand.

Dominion had sued Fox and its parent company Fox Corporation for $1.6 billion, claiming that the network used its on-air personalities and select guests to knowingly spread what the company argued were false claims that Dominion had changed votes in the 2020 election through algorithms in its voting machines that had been created in Venezuela to rig elections for the late dictator Hugo Chavez.

Fox had argued that the 2020 election claims made by Trump and his legal team were newsworthy and covering those claims were protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment. The presiding judge ruled in March that Dominion’s complaint “supports the reasonable inference that Fox either (i) knew its statements about Dominion’s role in election fraud were false or (ii) had a high degree of awareness that the statements were false.”

Dominion CEO John Poulos crowed over the settlement. 

“Fox has admitted to telling lies about Dominion that caused enormous damage to my company, our employees, and the customers that we serve,” he said at a press conference Tuesday. “Nothing can ever make up for that.”

Under the terms of the settlement, however, “Fox News will not have to apologize or admit to spreading false claims on network programming, according to a person familiar with the details of the agreement,” the New York Times reported.

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