Fox News waved the white flag on Tuesday, settling with Dominion Voting Systems just hours into the first day of the bombshell trial over whether the conservative cable giant committed “actual malice” by peddling election fraud lies about the voting software firm.
“The parties have resolved the case,” the judge in the case told the jury.
Rumors of a settlement between the two parties began circulating on the eve of the trial after Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis announced that the start of the proceedings would be delayed by one day. The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch, reported on Sunday that the network was making a late push to settle with Dominion.
In a Sunday legal filing, Fox News lawyers also disputed the damages it would pay if found liable by a jury in the $1.6 billion suit, stating that Dominion had recently softened its claims for alleged lost profits totaling upwards of $600 million. Dominion, however, disputed the network’s characterization of its stance, stating that the “damages claim remains” and that the network was well aware that “our damages exceed $1.6 billion.”
“This does not seem unusual to me,” Davis said on Monday morning while delaying the start of the trial. “I am continuing the matter until tomorrow.”
The lawsuit was spurred after various Fox News segments propagated the idea that voting machines made by Dominion were used to rig the 2020 election in favor of Democrats. That and countless conspiracies, including that Dominion was controlled by Venezuela, prompted the company to sue Fox in March 2021 for $1.6 billion in damages.
The case was dragged in court through years of procedural motions before exploding in February, when countless texts, statements, and depositions provided an unprecedented look into Fox News’ operations during the election period. The texts included Fox stars like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, along with various producers, labeling Donald Trump acolytes such as Sidney Powell and Mike Lindell as “dangerous as hell” and “on the crazy train with no brakes.”