Fox’s motion denied, Dominion’s lawsuit could go to trial

A Delaware judge on Friday said Dominion Voting’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against fox corporation and its networks could be tested in April.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis rejected Fox’s argument that the company should skip a trial because it is protected by the First Amendment. The judge approved several petitions by the voting machine manufacturer, except that Fox and its hosts acted maliciously by broadcasting false statements about the election. 2020 presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

The ruling comes more than a week after lawyers for Fox and Dominion met more than two days before Davis in Delaware, call on him to give judgment instead of going to court with a jury in mid-April.

“We are pleased with the Court’s thorough ruling that unequivocally rejected all of Fox’s arguments and defenses, and found that by law their claims about Dominion were false. We look forward to going to trial,” Dominion said late Friday afternoon.

Fox also weighed in on the judge’s ruling.

“This case has always been about First Amendment protections to the media’s absolute right to report. FOX will continue to fiercely support freedoms of speech and freedom of the press. even as we move into the next phase of these proceedings,” the company said.

dominate bring its lawsuit against Fox News and Fox Business, as well as parent company Fox Corp., in 2021, arguing that the channels and their hosts made false claims that their voting machines had been tampered with. fraud in the 2020 election that saw Biden win over Trump. Former president, who is indicted? Thursday in an unrelated criminal matter, has repeatedly made false claims about the election being rigged against him.

Last year, as part of Dominion’s evidence-gathering process, the company ousted executives from both Fox Corp. — including President Rupert Murdoch and his son and Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch — and Fox News, as well as top network hosts. In recent weeks, a flurry of evidence has been released as part of the case, showing that the hosts, as well as Rupert Murdoch, Skepticism about election fraud claims are made on air.

Dominion has argued that Fox has defamed the company, affected its business, and acted maliciously. Fox has argued that it was covering notable allegations, which at the time stemmed from Trump and his attorneys, and are covered by the First Amendment.

The judge pointed to claims related to election fraud, that Dominion manipulated votes through software and algorithms, that it was set up in Venezuela to orchestrate elections on behalf of a dictator. late dictator Hugo Chavez, and that it paid kickbacks to government officials who used machines in the election. the election – all of which were supposed to air on Fox – were defamatory.

“The statements also appear to charge Dominion with felony election fraud. Allegations of criminal activity, even in the form of opinions, are not constitutionally protected,” Davis said in the papers. court documents.

Although the judge on Friday delivered a summary ruling on some of Dominion’s arguments, including defamation, he did not rule on actual malice.

To win a defamation lawsuit, a plaintiff needs to prove that the individual or business they are suing knowingly made harmful false statements and acted with “genuine malice,” meaning the speaker knew or ought to have known what they did. say is not true.

In evidence released in recent weeks, internal email and text messages between Fox executives and showrunners suggest they cast doubt on claims made on the air. . However, Dominion argues, Fox continues to host guests such as Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who have repeatedly made false claims about election fraud.

Fox argued last week in court that the basis of the lawsuit was “whether the press accurately covered the allegations, not whether the underlying allegations were true or false.” The lawyers built the media company’s case around the notion that “any reasonable viewer” of the news should be able to discern what was the allegation or truth on Fox’s network.

In Friday’s opinion, Davis, the judge, aided that “there is no clear and convincing evidence of actual malice.” Instead, Davis says it’s a matter for the jury to decide.

Similarly, on Fox’s argument against the $1.6 billion in punitive damages Dominion is seeking in this case, Davis said the matter is up to the jury – including the calculation. extent of damage.

The trial, which is expected to last several weeks, will begin April 17, with a pre-trial meeting and jury selection taking place the week before.

Dominion is asking top Fox hosts, including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, as well as former host Lou Dobbs and Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, appeared in the stands for interrogation. The testimony of both the Murdochs, as well as other Fox Corp. executives, will also be included in the trial.

Former Fox producer Abby Grossberg was also added to Dominion’s witness list. Grossberg, who has worked on the Bartiromo and Carlson shows, filed a lawsuit against Fox alleging that she was coerced into providing false testimony as part of the Dominion lawsuit.

Read the verdict.


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