Fox News settled a defamation lawsuit for $787.5 million on Tuesday with voting equipment provider Dominion, which claimed the network intentionally broadcast untrue allegations tying its devices to a plot to rig the 2020 US election.
The settlement arrangement prevented what most analysts believed would have been a devastating trial for the conservative channel in which Rupert Murdoch, the owner, would have had to give public testimony.
After the twelve members of the jury had been chosen and the Delaware Superior Court was preparing to hear the opening arguments, Judge Eric Davis revealed the last-minute accord.
In a statement, Fox News expressed its “pleasure” with the resolution of the conflict and stated: “We accept the court’s findings declaring some allegations regarding Dominion to be incorrect.”
Fox had “admitted to spreading lies against Dominion that caused tremendous harm to my business, our staff, and our clients,” Dominion CEO John Poulos informed reporters outside the court. “Nothing will ever make that up.”
The New York Times dubbed the proceedings “the defamation trial of the century,” and they were intended to test the boundaries of media freedom of speech in America when deliberately disseminating false material.
Analysts had anticipated that the hearing may end up being one of the most important libel cases in US legal history.
The deal, which is said to be one of the richest in a defamation case ever, implies that prominent anchors like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity will also avoid testifying.
According to US media, the deal does not mandate that Fox anchors publicly apologize or acknowledge disseminating untruths.
In March 2021, Dominion sued Fox News for $1.6 billion, claiming that it had supported Donald Trump’s unfounded assertion that the election he lost to Joe Biden had been rigged using the network’s equipment.
Fox broadcast the lies, according to Dominion, even though it knew they were false.
It said that the network started backing Trump’s conspiracy because it was losing viewers to smaller competitors after it became the first television station to predict that the Democrats would win the presidency by picking Biden to win the southern state of Arizona.