Sensing that they were about to lose the $1.6 billion defamation cause brought by Dominion Voting Systems and have the trial be spread across the daily news for weeks, Fox News settled the case Tuesday and agreed to pay Dominion $787.5 million fine for damages it caused the company.
NBC News reports:
“Fox has admitted to telling lies,” John Poulos, Dominion CEO, said at a news conference after the trial ended.
“Money is accountability,” said Stephen Shackelford Jr., the attorney scheduled to give opening statements for Dominion on Tuesday.
But while Fox may be able to put the Dominon lawsuit behind them, they still face one hell of a legal and financial gauntlet.
For one thing, the network is still not completely in the clear with the Dominion case, as Former FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann explained on MSNBC shortly after the settlement was announced.
Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis announced Tuesday that he was appointing Delaware litigator John Elzufon to determine if Fox lied during the discovery phase of the Dominion lawsuit.
That led Weissmann to note, “We do have — the judge appointed today, a special master, by the way, that could continue.”
Host Nicolle Wallace then asked Weissmann if that might be one of the things that led Fox to settle so quickly. He replied, “Well, absolutely. Worst case scenario, we don’t know if this is the case, the worst case scenario, the special master has free rein to take depositions anew. And on Fox’s dime. And that means the worst case is that was not inadvertent that somebody said, ‘we’re not producing this,’ or ‘we’re going to produce this late in the day.'”
There’s also the matter of another defamation lawsuit. This one has been filed by Smartmatic which is seeking $2.7 billion in damages. That case was given the approval to proceed last month in a New York court, The Guardian reports.
Smartmatic claims that more than 100 false statements were broadcast by Fox News hosts and guests. Smartmatic was falsely said to have been involved in 2020 election counts in six battleground states – in fact, it was present only at the count in Los Angeles county.
Fox broadcast that Smartmatic shared its technology with Dominion, when in fact the two companies had no communication and regarded each other as rivals. Smartmatic was in cahoots with foreign governments in a conspiracy to rig the vote for Biden, Giuliani said on Bartiromo’s show – a claim that the company disputes as false and defamatory.
Fox is far from being in the clear. Their problems are only beginning.