Fox News, Dominion Voting Settle Defamation Case for $787.5 Million

A jury had just been seated in Delaware when the judge announced the resolution

dominion fox news
Dominion Voting Systems CEO John Poulos, second from left, leaves with members of his legal team, including Davida Brook, left, Justin Nelson and Stephen Shackelford. (Getty Images)

Dominion Voting Systems settled its $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit Tuesday against Fox News for $787.5 million and a concession of “false” claims, just as the first day of the high-stakes trial was about to get interesting.

A jury of 12 had barley been seated in Delaware when Judge Eric Davis announced that “the parties have resolved their case.” He did not elaborate before dismissing everyone.

Fox News said in an email to TheWrap:

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems. We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects FOX’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards. We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues.”

A lawyer for Dominion disclosed the amount as being $787,500,000 and also said Fox acknowledged in its concession that it lied about the Denver-based company’s voting machines.

“Fox has admitted to telling lies about Dominion that caused enormous damage to my Company, our employees, and our customers. Nothing can ever make up for that,” Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a prepared statement. “Throughout this process, we have sought accountability and believe the evidence brought to light through this case underscores the consequences of spreading and endorsing lies. Truthful reporting in the media is essential to our democracy. Dominion, our employees and our partners are grateful to the court for allowing the process for the truth to come out.”

Fox Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch had been scheduled to be among the first witnesses in the trial, which legal analysts said was tilted heavily against the media company. Settlement chatter began weeks ago, but people familiar with the situation had been saying that nothing was on the table as both sides dug in for a fight that now will never be.

Dominion’s legal team ignored questions at a press conference outside of court about whether Fox News would be required to broadcast any sort of retraction or apology on air, though CNN reporter Oliver Darcy suggested that would not be the case:

“The truth matters: lies have consequences,” Dominion lawyer Justin Nelson said. “The truth does not know red or blue. People across the political spectrum can and should disagree on issues, even of the most profound importance. But for our democracy to endure for another 250 years … we must share a commitment to facts.”

Fox was accused of defaming Dominion immediately following the 2020 presidential election, when some network guests and hosts suggested the Denver company’s voting machines had been hacked or compromised. In the two years since the lawsuit was filed, the network had stridently denied any wrongdoing, saying it was merely reporting what was being said by newsmakers – including Donald Trump and his shrinking circle of lawyers, and Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani – who were pushing the unfounded claims.

Even after it cuts a check to Dominion, Fox will not completely out of the woods for its 2020 election coverage. Fox News faces a separate civil action from Smartmatic, also a voting-machines company. 

“Dominion’s litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox’s disinformation campaign,” Smartmatic lawyer Erik Connolly told Semafor. “Smartmatic will expose the rest.”

Benjamin Lindsay and Jeremy Bailey contributed to this report.