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Dominion agrees to Fox News settlement, ending historic lawsuit

The historic defamation trial was set to spotlight the right-wing network's broadcasting of 2020 election lies.


Dominion Voting Systems has settled its historic defamation lawsuit against Fox News, as both parties were gearing up to deliver their opening statements in the trial.

After a lengthy post-lunch delay, Judge Eric Davis announced Tuesday afternoon that the parties have resolved the case. He did not announce settlement terms. Dominion lawyer Justin Nelson said at a press conference after court that Fox settled for $787.5 million. It's unclear the extent of any non-monetary terms to the settlement, but it appears an on-air apology from Fox News hosts is unlikely.

The voting machine company's suit, which initially sought $1.6 billion dollars in damages, stemmed from the right-wing network's airing of false claims that Dominion was complicit in a nonexistent scheme to rig the 2020 election against the incumbent, Donald Trump, who lost to President Joe Biden.

Discovery in the case uncovered a trove of stunning internal Fox communications that showed hosts and others in the company were aware that they were airing bogus claims but did so nonetheless, apparently out of fear that viewers would flock to other right-wing outlets, court filings suggested.

Legal observers marveled at the sheer volume of powerful evidence that Dominion amassed against Fox, seemingly putting the ball in the plaintiff's court when it came to a potential settlement.

That's not to say that a complete victory would have been a sure thing for Dominion, depending upon what it wanted to accomplish. To win at trial, it would have needed to prove not only that the claims were false, but that they were broadcast with "actual malice," meaning with knowledge of their falsity or reckless disregard of whether they were true. As a general matter, it's a notoriously tough legal standard for plaintiffs to meet. And even if Dominion won at trial, the amount of damages it would have recovered from Fox wasn't certain.