Judge Orders Fox News-Dominion Defamation Case to Trial

The network had filed a motion for summary judgment, which was denied

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The Fox News-Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit is going to trial.

A judge denied granting a summary judgement Friday to Fox News. The cable network was attempting to get Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit thrown out. Instead, the case will go to trial in mid-April.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis also sided with Dominion, saying that he agreed the challenged statements are false; this means that Dominion isn’t going to be forced to litigate countless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election during the trial, which pits Dominion against the network and its parent company, Fox Corp.

The jury in the case will be asked to designate whether Fox News acted with intent, as it repeatedly reiterated false claims and conspiracy theories about the election and about Dominion’s electronic voting machines, and whether damages are owed to Dominion. They are also going to have to weigh in on Fox News’ publication of the defamatory statements.

“We are gratified by the Court’s thorough ruling soundly rejecting all of Fox’s arguments and defenses and finding as a matter of law that their statements about Dominion are false. We look forward to going to trial,” a spokesperson for Dominion said in an officially released statement.

Fox News also released their own statement, once again couched in the rhetoric of the First Amendment: “This case is and always has been about the First Amendment protections of the media’s absolute right to cover the news. FOX will continue to fiercely advocate for the rights of free speech and a free press as we move into the next phase of these proceedings.” (A Dominion spokesperson said: “The Court has rejected Fox’s First Amendment ‘newsworthy allegation’ defense and held that Dominion’s lawsuit is consistent with the First Amendment.”)

This is the latest controversy the conservative cable channel has faced and potentially the most damning. In the past it has had to contend with sexual harassment allegations against former CEO and chairman Roger Ailes and the unearthing of more than $13 million that Fox News and O’Reilly himself paid out to silence accusers of former firebrand Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly (among many other things).