Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems will meet in court Tuesday to work out a number of issues ahead of their April 17 trial, a process that may produce a fresh wave of juicy details from depositions whose redacted bits could be unveiled at a Delaware judge’s discretion.
Tuesday’s hearing was scheduled months ago in part to service summary-judgment motions filed by both Fox and Dominion. A ruling was not expected on those filings, which contained unusually detailed troves of testimony and other documents – including acknowledgment by top Fox brass and on-air talent that the network broadcast election-fraud narratives they themselves did not believe.
But Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis will hear each side’s arguments for lifting redactions on the other’s depositions, and could rule on those a la carte Tuesday. That could result in multiple documents being refiled with fig leaves removed.
All parties, including the judge, have access to unreacted documents before making arguments. In some cases the blocked-out bits are merely names — such as how Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott was dream-casting as Lou Dobbs’ eventual replacement — and in others are paragraphs or entire pages of sworn testimony.
Judge Davis could also dismiss individual claims, testimony or other evidence, and has broad discretion at this juncture to narrow the scope of the trial. Dominion is asking $1.6 billion in damages – an award that would hardly be death-blow to the crown jewel of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire – for what it says are defamatory statements about its voting machines in multiple reports, guest segments and host commentary immediately following the 2020 election.
Speaking of that April trial – multiple people with knowledge of the tell TheWrap that both sides are anticipating court proceedings to begin on-schedule. With less than a month to go, that means a settlement outcome seems increasingly less likely.