Fox News has agreed to pay nearly $800 million (€729 million) to avoid a trial that could have exposed how it promoted lies about the 2020 US presidential election.
The TV channel paid $787.5 million (€718 million) to Dominion after the voting machine company said its business was hit by Fox which spread false claims that voting had been rigged against Donald Trump.
“Truth matters. Lies have consequences,” Dominion attorney Justin Nelson told reporters outside the Delaware courthouse after Superior Court Judge Eric Davis announced the settlement.
It marks the abrupt end of an embarrassing case that could have seen news baron Rupert Murdoch, who founded the right-wing network, having to testify.
Fox did not apologize after the settlement, but acknowledged that the court had declared “certain claims about Dominion to be false.”
“We hope that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive process, will allow the country to move forward from these issues,” Fox said.
It’s unclear if there’s more to the deal than money.
Fox’s attorneys and representatives didn’t offer any other comments or details about the settlement.
The deal involves a huge amount, even for a company as big as Fox, backed by billionaire Murdoch.
It represents about a quarter of the $2.96 billion (€2.70 billion) the company said it earned last year before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a figure often used to approximate the company’s cash flow. a company.
Along with other pending lawsuits, the settlement shows that there is a real financial risk to the conservative media, which traffics in conspiracy theories.
What remains unknown is how much of a deterrent it will be.
Even as the Dominion case loomed this spring, Fox’s Tucker Carlson aired his alternative theories about what happened to the January 6, 2021 insurrection against the White House.