Dominion agrees $787.5m settlement in defamation lawsuit with Fox News over vote-rigging claims
Voting machine company Dominion has settled its $1.6bn (£1.3bn) defamation lawsuit with Fox News.
The settlement terms were not immediately discussed but it was announced at the 11th hour, after the 12-person jury had been selected and just as both sides were due to deliver their opening statements in Delaware Superior Court.
Dominion, which sells electronic voting hardware and software, had been suing Fox News Network and its parent company Fox Corp over its coverage of false vote-rigging claims in the 2020 US election.
The deal means Fox will not have to see some of its best-known figures called to the witness stand, including possibly Rupert Murdoch, the 92-year-old media mogul who serves as Fox Corp chairman, and Fox CEO Suzanne Scott as well as on-air hosts including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro.
In a statement reported by the New York Times, Fox said it was “pleased” to have reached a settlement, adding: “We acknowledge the court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false”.
“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.”
Emails, texts and other documents produced as part of the lawsuit showed that many of the controversial right-wing network’s hosts, executives and producers did not believe the vote-rigging allegations but aired them anyway.
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It was considered a test of whether Fox’s coverage crossed the line between ethical journalism and the pursuit of ratings – which Dominion alleged but Fox denied.
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Dominion argued that Fox News made the claims to boost its faltering TV ratings.
It claimed the news channel “sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process,” according to a copy of the lawsuit.
“The truth matters. Lies have consequences,” the lawsuit said. “If this case does not rise to the level of defamation by a broadcaster, then nothing does.”