As the trial rushed into opening statements on Tuesday, Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems came to a last-minute agreement. Fox News agreed to pay more than $787 million to resolve the protracted, two-year legal struggle that had publicly destroyed the credibility of the right-wing network.
The largest known defamation settlement in US history involving a media firm is Fox News’ $787.5 million agreement with Dominion Voting Systems.
A few hours after the jury was sworn in at the Delaware Superior Court, the agreement was made public. After a lunch break, the proceedings abruptly came to an end for nearly three hours without explanation as the parties reportedly hammered out a settlement, sparking rumors of a settlement across the courtroom.
The judge gaveled out the so-called media “trial of the century” before it even started, declaring that “the parties have resolved their case,” dismissing the 12-member jury, and crediting them with providing the parties with the impetus to reach a settlement. Judge Eric Davis effusively praised the attorneys on both sides.
Fox News will pay out $787.5M over their election lies. They should also be required to tell their viewers the truth. pic.twitter.com/hhPi1ytYXR
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) April 18, 2023
The historic agreement “represents vindication and accountability,” according to Justin Nelson, a lawyer for Dominion. “We must share a commitment to truth if we want our democracy to last for another 250 years, and ideally much longer… Today is a resounding victory for democracy and the truth.
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According to a statement from the right-wing network, it “acknowledge[s] the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false,” referring to Davis’ recent decision that 20 Fox News broadcasts from late 2020 contained blatantly false claims that Dominion rigged the presidential election.
A Dominion official told CNN that Fox won’t have to publicly acknowledge that it misrepresented Dominion.
According to court documents, the $787.5 million compensation is almost half of the $1.6 billion that Dominion first requested, but it is still nearly ten times the company’s 2018 worth and roughly eight times its projected 2021 annual sales.
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