The American “Fox News” network agreed to pay $ 787.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the “Dominion” company, the American manufacturer of voting machines, accusing the media outlet of defamation. The settlement averted a trial that would have been a test of the extent of freedom of expression afforded to media in the United States. Dominion accused the channel of promoting allegations by former US President Donald Trump that its machines were used to falsify the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which he lost to Joe Biden.
I came upFox NewsTuesday to a financial settlement that required it to pay $787.5 million to Dominion, the US voting machine manufacturer, which it accuses of defamation, in a move that averted the network from a trial that would have been a test of the scope of freedom of expression granted to the media in the United States.
Judge Eric Davis announced the settlement at the last minute, after the selection of the 12 members of the jury, and while the court was completing preparations for the commencement of arguments in the case.
Dominion Voting Systems sued Fox News for $1.6 billion in March 2021, accusing the channel of promoting claims by Donald Trump that its machines were used to falsify the results of the 2020 presidential election. He lost to Joe Biden.
The company insists that “Fox News” broadcast the false information, although it is aware of its incorrectness.
“The parties have resolved their case,” the judge told the Delaware Supreme Court, telling the jurors they could walk away.
Later, Dominion’s defense attorney announced that Fox News had agreed to pay the company about $790 million as part of a settlement of the case.
Attorney Justin Nelson said in a press conference in front of the court’s headquarters, “The settlement of $787.5 million that was reached today represents an acquittal and accountability.”
Also, a spokesperson for the network issued a statement, expressing its satisfaction with the settlement that had been reached.
The statement acknowledged the court’s finding that some of the claims about Dominion were “false,” noting that the dispute was resolved “amicably.”
And “Dominion” says that the network began to support Trump’s conspiracy theory, given that it lost its audience after it turned into the first television channel to decide the election result in the state of Arizona (southwest) in favor of Biden, which was practically an expectation that the Democratic candidate would win the presidency.
Fox News denies the defamation charge. And she stresses that all she did was convey Trump’s accusations, not support them, noting that they are protected by the rights of freedom of expression guaranteed in the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
In pre-trial hearings, Delaware Judge Eric Davis said there was no doubt that Fox had aired false statements about Dominion.
In order to win, Dominion had to prove that Fox News had indeed acted in bad faith, which is difficult to achieve and has been a cornerstone of US media law since 1964.
Fox News is staffed by a number of traditional journalists, but it dedicates the bulk of its airtime to commentators, including during some of its most-watched programs hosted by prominent conservative figures.