False election claim Fox defamation case settled | World | News

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The judge in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox has said the parties have “settled their case”. The news came just as the trial was about to begin and the judge dismissed the jury.

It cuts short a potentially lengthy trial in a case that revealed how the news network defrauded viewers by spreading false claims about the 2020 presidential election. The judge made his announcement shortly after jurors were seated and attorneys prepared to make opening statements for a trial expected to last six weeks.

A lawyer for Dominion said the settlement was for $787.5 million dollars (£633.6 million).

“The truth is important. Lies have consequences,” Dominion attorney Justin Nelson said at a press conference outside the courthouse afterward.

Jury selection earlier on Tuesday in the polling machine company’s 1.6 billion dollar (£1.29 billion) defamation lawsuit against Fox News came a day after the judge granted a one-day delay giving the two sides time to settle. work out.

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Dominion had asked for $1.6 billion, arguing that Fox damaged its reputation by helping to spread conspiracy theories about its equipment over the presidential contest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Fox said the amount overestimated the value of the Colorado-based company.

Despite settling the case, the judge emphasized that it was “clearly clear” that none of the accusations of Supremacy leveled at Fox by friends of former president Donald Trump were true.

Records released as part of the lawsuit showed how Fox hosts and executives did not believe the claims from Mr. Trump’s associates but issued them anyway, in part to – viewers who were running away from the network to win after being correctly nominated in Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden. election night.

The settlement will end what has become a huge embarrassment for Fox News. If it had gone to trial, it would have been a severe test of libel laws that have protected media organizations for more than half a century.

Several experts said Dominion’s case was one of the strongest they had ever seen, but there was serious doubt that Dominion would be able to prove to a jury that people in a decision-making capacity at Fox could be held responsible for the network to report the lies. .

In the end, there seemed to be too much at stake for both sides to let them put the case in the hands of a jury.

Dominion accused Fox of disparagement for repeatedly revealing false allegations by Trump allies that its machines and the software they used swung votes to Biden — even though many in the network doubting the claims and disparaging those who were making them. The company sued both Fox News and its parent, Fox Corp.

During the deposition, the chairman of Fox Corp, Rupert Murdoch, the founder of the news network, said that he believed that the 2020 election was fair and that it was not stolen from the former president.

“Fox knew the truth,” Dominion said in court papers. “He knew the charges against Sovereignty were ‘out there’ and ‘false’ and ‘ridiculous’ and ‘nuts’. But he used the power and influence of his platform to promote that false story. “

In a ruling in late March, Judge Davis called out the news organization for publishing lies, adding that the fraudulent election claims continued nearly three years after Mr. Trump lost the bid. for re-election.

“The statements in the case were very different from the truth,” Judge Davis said in his decision. “Of course … it should be noted that some Americans still believes that the election has been made.”

Fox said in his defense that he had a duty to report the most interesting stories – a president claiming he was cheated out of re-election.

“We never said they were true,” Fox attorney Erin Murphy said. “All we ever did was give the viewers the truth that those were allegations being made.”

Dominion’s lawyers argued that Fox made a deliberate decision to repeatedly report the false claims to appeal to viewers. They allowed guests to falsely claim that the company had fixed the election, diverted large numbers of votes to Mr. Biden through a secret algorithm, owned by a company set up in Venezuela to rig elections for Hugo Chavez, and bribed government officials.

But a mountain of evidence — transcripts, internal memos and emails — was unearthed that damaged Fox. Much of it showed a network effectively scaring its audience after its announcement on election night that Mr. Biden had won Arizona. The call angered Mr. Trump and his supporters.

One of Fox’s top news anchors, Bret Baier, noted the audience’s anger and suggested canceling the call, even awarding the state to Mr. Trump. “We don’t want to go against Trump anymore,” Mr. Murdoch said in a memo in November.

Mr. Biden almost won Arizona, but two officials responsible for proper election night calling lost their jobs because of it. In an internal memo, Mr Murdoch spoke in mid-November about firing them.

Fox executives and anchors discussed how not to upset the audience, many of whom believed that Mr. Trump had fraudulent claims despite the lack of evidence to support them. Fox’s Tucker Carlson suggested that a reporter be fired for tweeting a fact check debunking the fraud claims.

Some of the shows were downright disgusting, such as behind-the-scenes disgusting comments about Mr Trump, including Carlson’s text message saying “I hate him with a passion”.

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