Fox News suffered a significant setback on Friday in its defense against a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems. The lawsuit claims that Fox News lied about voter fraud in the 2020 election. A judge in Delaware Superior Court said that the case was strong enough to conclude that Fox hosts and guests repeatedly made false claims about Dominion machines and their supposed role in a fictitious plot to steal the election from President Donald J. Trump.
Judge Eric M. Davis wrote that “The evidence developed in this civil proceeding” demonstrates that it “is CRYSTAL clear that none of the statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” He added that the case would still proceed to trial, for a jury to weigh whether the media company spread false claims about Dominion knowing that they were untrue, and to determine any damages. The trial is expected to begin on April 17.
“We are gratified by the court’s thorough ruling soundly rejecting all of Fox’s arguments and defenses, and finding as a matter of law that their statements about Dominion are false,” a spokeswoman for Dominion said in a statement on Friday. “We look forward to going to trial.”
A spokeswoman for Fox said: “This case is and always has been about the First Amendment protections of the media’s absolute right to cover the news. Fox will continue to fiercely advocate for the rights of free speech and a free press as we move into the next phase of these proceedings.”
This ruling is a significant blow to Fox News, which has been accused of spreading false information about Dominion Voting Systems. The company has been at the center of a controversy surrounding the 2020 election, with many Republicans claiming that there was widespread voter fraud. Dominion Voting Systems has been one of the targets of these claims, with some alleging that its machines were used to manipulate the results of the election.
Dominion Voting Systems has denied these claims and has filed lawsuits against several media companies, including Fox News, for spreading false information about the company. The company has also filed lawsuits against individuals who have made similar claims.
This ruling is a victory for Dominion Voting Systems and could have significant implications for other lawsuits that the company has filed. It also highlights the importance of media companies being careful about the information they report, particularly when it comes to sensitive topics like elections.
Fox News has maintained that it was simply reporting on the claims made by others and that it did not spread false information intentionally. However, this ruling suggests that the evidence presented by Dominion Voting Systems was strong enough to convince a judge that Fox News did indeed spread false information.
The trial will be closely watched by both sides, as it could have significant implications for the future of media companies and their ability to report on sensitive topics. It will also be an important test of the First Amendment protections afforded to media companies, particularly in cases where they are accused of spreading false information.
Regardless of the outcome of the trial, this ruling is a significant setback for Fox News and highlights the importance of media companies being careful about the information they report. It is a reminder that the media has a responsibility to report accurate information and to be mindful of the potential consequences of their reporting.