1682020372 origin 1

Explainer: What to Expect in the Dominion v. Libel Trial Fox

origin 1

By Jack Regina

(RockedBuzz via Reuters) – One of the most-watched US media trials in decades kicks off in a Delaware court on Tuesday as Fox Corp and Fox News face a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems over coverage of the network of false claims that the vote-against corporation rigged the 2020 presidential election.

Here is an explanation of the case.


Dominion in its lawsuit accused Fox of destroying its reputation and business by repeatedly spreading false claims that its voting machines were used to rig an election against then Republican President Donald Trump in favor of the winner, the Democrat Joe Biden.

Dominion said Fox knew the claims were false but continued to air them to appeal to its largely conservative audience and prevent viewers from defecting to right-wing media competitors who have embraced the conspiracy theory.

The Denver-based company cited numerous internal Fox communications and deposition testimony that it said showed that Fox personnel — show producers and hosts to top executives — knew that guests appearing on various programs and repeatedly made false claims on air had no evidence to back up their allegations.


Fox said Dominion could not prove that the network knowingly spread falsehoods or recklessly ignored the truth, the legal standard of “effective malice” that plaintiffs in defamation suits must meet.

Fox argued that Dominion gathered evidence to mischaracterize the network’s coverage decisions, which it said were reasonable because claims of vote-rigging by the president’s lawyers were inherently newsworthy. Fox said it also provided Dominion’s side of the story by airing its denials.

The network suffered a setback in March when Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis ruled that Fox could not invoke free speech defenses because the statements it aired were false, defamatory, and lacked legal protections to the press under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Fox is now largely confined to arguing that Dominion can’t prove true malice.


YES. Neither side has publicly shown interest in settling after two years of fierce litigation, but two sources told RockedBuzz via Reuters that Fox and Dominion were holding last-minute talks after Davis delayed the trial by a day on Monday without providing an motivation.

Both sides are arguing over the principal. Dominion argued that Fox’s conduct was detrimental to American democracy and that the network must be held accountable for crossing the line between journalism and reckless pursuit of ratings. Fox called Dominion’s lawsuit an assault on the free press and framed his position in the case as a defense of journalism and diversity of ideas in the public square.

But Fox faces a potentially huge judgment because in addition to $1.6 billion, Dominion is also seeking punitive damages in any amount jurors see fit.

Another US voting firm, Smartmatic, is seeking $2.7 billion from Fox in a similar lawsuit pending in New York County Supreme Court.


Fox attacked the credibility of Dominion’s damage estimate, saying it was based on unrealistic growth projections and incorrect assumptions. The network claimed Dominion was worth just $80 million in 2018 and has continued to grow and post strong revenue despite false claims of vote-rigging.

Dominion defended its damages model, which it said was based on industry-standard accounting methods. A company-commissioned expert report attributed dozens of lost contracts to the Fox cover-up, though much of the report remains under wraps. More of these details are likely to come out when the Dominion expert testifies.

(Reporting by Jack Queen; Editing by Will Dunham and Noeleen Walder)