Dominion settles defamation case against Fox News

  • Opening arguments in the case were set to begin on Tuesday
  • The sides reached a $787.5M settlement agreement
  • Dominion called the resolution an "endorsement for truth and democracy"

(NewsNation) — Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems have reached a settlement in a defamation case against the network over claims that the 2020 election was rigged.

The $787.5 million settlement ends a case centered around reporting over the 2020 presidential election, including former President Donald Trump’s false claims that he won.

“Today is a ringing endorsement for truth and democracy,” Dominion CEO John Poulos said. He went on to say that by settling, Fox admitted to lying on air about election fraud and rigged results.

Fox News issued the following statement regarding the settlement:

“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. 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 trial began Tuesday with no cameras are allowed in the courtroom. NewsNation correspondents reported heavy security around the trial with two sets of metal detectors, including one specifically for the courtroom where the trial is being held.

Opening arguments were set to resume after a lunch recess but were delayed until late afternoon, when the judge dismissed the jury and announced the parties had settled the case.

A 12-person jury had been selected, as well as 12 alternates. Most of the jurors appeared to be between 30 and 50, with 6 women and 6 men. As the trial was set to begin, the judge warned the jury they will have to “fight human nature” and refrain from discussing the case or looking up additional information.

The $1.6 billion lawsuit will test the limits of First Amendment protections for media outlets. Court documents included references to texts and emails between Fox anchors and producers suggesting they knew there was no fraud or election rigging but wanted to avoid angering their base.

The case will put under scrutiny the libel standard that has guided U.S. media outlets for nearly six decades, reveal behind-the-scenes activity at Fox News in the weeks after the 2020 election and shed light on the flow of misinformation that turned into a tidal wave after the election, which then-President Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden.

Fox News stars such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, as well as company founder Rupert Murdoch, had been expected to testify during the six-week trial.

Dominion claims New York-based Fox News and its parent company, Fox Corp., essentially bulldozed the voting company’s business and subjected employees to threats by falsely implicating it in a bogus conspiracy to rig the election against Trump.

Fox says it simply reported on Trump’s challenges to the election results and let viewers hear from his lawyers and allies.

“Dominion’s lawsuit is a political crusade in search of a financial windfall, but the real cost would be cherished First Amendment rights,” the network said in a statement last week.

No evidence of widespread election fraud has been found in the 2020 presidential election after reviews by state and federal election officials and court challenges from Trump and his allies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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