The $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News over election laws will go forward, after a judge rules that the case has merit.
Dominion Voting Systems is a company that produces electronic voting machines and scanning machines to count paper ballots. They’re used all over the world, including in 28 U.S. states. Due probably to their prevalence, the company has featured heavily in conspiracy theories about former President Trump’s loss in the 2020 election. Trump and his advocates have alleged publicly that DVS used its machines to “steal” millions of votes for Trump and give them to Joe Biden. There has never been any evidence of such action, and in fact hand-recounting of votes tabulated by DVS machines have always proven their counts to be accurate and honest.
Nonetheless, Trump and his friends, along with conservative news sources like Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News Network spent a great deal of time and noise amplifying the rumors, which likely came from QAnon. It got so much traction that Eric Coomer, a director at Dominion, had to go into hiding due to death threats from Trump supporters.
In December 2020, DVS informed Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Lindell, and other individuals involved in spreading the harmful rumors that a lawsuit was in the offing. In the weeks after, many news agencies printed retractions, fact checks, or simply deleted their mentions of DVS, but the defamation lawsuit was filed in January regardless.
Fox Corporation, the parent company of Fox News, filed a motion in December 2021 to dismiss the defamation lawsuit against them, but it was denied by a judge in Delaware. On Tuesday, another Delaware Superior Court Judge, Justice Eric Davis, dismissed a motion to limit the lawsuit only to Fox News, and not Fox Corporation.
“Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch allegedly made a ‘business calculation’ to spread former President Trump’s narrative through Fox News even though they did not personally believe it,” Davis wrote, citing Dominion’s filings. “Thus, Fox Corporation’s employees and officers allegedly had ‘direct responsibility’ for airing the statements about Dominion.”
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