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Fox News settles election fraud case

The conservative outlet agreed to pay Dominion Voting Systems almost $800 million

Fox News has reached a settlement of almost $800 million with Dominion Voting Systems. Dominion, which manufactures voting machines, filed a defamation suit after some of the network’s hosts and guests accused it of enabling election fraud in 2020.

Fox and Dominion settled the case on Tuesday, moments before opening arguments were set to begin. Speaking on the steps of the courthouse in Georgetown, Delaware, a lawyer for Dominion told reporters that Fox would pay the company $787.5 million, just under half of the mammoth $1.6 billion sum it was seeking in court.

Dominion sued Fox in 2021, alleging that hosts Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro aired false claims about its voting machines in the aftermath of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 US presidential election. 

Dominion’s machines were used in 28 US states in 2020. Prior to the election, they were widely known for their unreliability. In 2019, a group of prominent Democrats, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, warned that they were “prone to security problems,” including “switching votes,” delivering results that “threaten the integrity of our elections,” and other “undisclosed vulnerabilities.”

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File photo: Democrat activists protest outside Fox News HQ in New York City
Fox News hit with election complaint

When reports of crashing machines surfaced during the 2020 election, some conservative pundits and supporters of Donald Trump alleged that Dominion was attempting to rig the election in favor of Biden. Dominion responded by launching multiple lawsuits, including two $1.3 billion defamation suits targeting pro-Trump lawyer Sydney Powell and the ex-president’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Fox did not dispute that some of its hosts’ claims about Dominion were false. Instead it argued that it was simply reporting newsworthy allegations from public figures like Powell and Guiliani, as was its “absolute right” under the US Constitution. Furthermore, the network argued that its hosts’ opinions were typical of the “rhetorical hyperbole normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States.”

Responding to Tuesday’s settlement, Dominion CEO John Poulos said that Fox had “admitted to telling lies,” and that “nothing can ever make up for that.” Fox said that it was “pleased to have reached a settlement,” and called for “the country to move forward from these issues.”

April 19, 2023 at 03:23AM

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