The libel lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News is due to begin this week. This could have serious implications for the right cable channel.
The trial was expected to begin on Monday in Delaware, but Supreme Court Justice Eric Davis announced it would be adjourned until Tuesday, according to a statement released by the court on Sunday evening.
Dominion is a voting technology company. After former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden, Dominion alleged that Fox promoted various pro-Trump conspiracy theories, including false and potentially damaging information about the company’s voting technology because “the lie was good for Fox’s business.” . Fox claims it was merely reporting statements made by the Trump administration and Donald Trump’s associates.
In 2021, he filed a defamation suit.
Here are 5 things to know before the trial.
Dominion wants celebrity hosts and network executives to testify during the trial, the court said in a March statement.
Here’s who can stand as witnesses if the Dominion gets its way:
• Suzanne Scott, Fox News CEO
• Jay Wallace, President of Fox News
• Hosts Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo, Laura Ingram and Bret Baier
• Abby Grossberg, a former Fox News producer who alleged she was forced by the network’s lawyers to give misleading testimony in a lawsuit filed in March.
• Delaware Supreme Court Judge Eric Davis said in April that Dominion could force Fox Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his son, CEO Lachlan Murdoch, to testify, which would deal Fox a big blow.
“Both sides made these witnesses very important,” Davis said of the Murdochs. Fox tried to stop the Dominion from bringing the Murdochs to testify.
Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in damages and additional punitive damages.
This could be a major financial blow to Fox. Fox Corporation, the owner of a right-wing news outlet, has about $4 billion in cash on hand, according to the latest figures. Profits and Losses Report. It’s also unclear how much insurance the company has or what insurance policy will cover.
However, fines in Delaware are unlimited and have no statutory maximum limit.
The network claims that this figure is grossly exaggerated in order to get attention in the headlines.
In a statement, Fox argued that the case was about protecting “the rights of a free press” and a verdict in favor of the Dominion would have “serious consequences” for the fourth estate.
“The Dominion lawsuit is a political crusade for unexpected financial gain, but the real price will be cherished First Amendment rights,” a Fox spokesperson said in a statement.
Defamation cases are difficult to win in the United States due to the Supreme Court ruling in New York Times v. Sullivan in 1964. Defamation must be held to high standards. The entity couldn’t just lie, it had to know (or at least strongly suspect) that it was lying at the time, and it had to be done with “genuine malice”. The court has already ruled on the first two, stating that Fox broadcast a lie and knew it was a lie, so instead of asking the truth, it’s about whether Fox did it maliciously.
Although Fox’s top figures have privately acknowledged the reality – former President Donald Trump lost to President Joe Biden in 2020 – Fox continued to air conspiracies and lies to keep its wide audience interested.
A cache of personal messages, emails, and testimonies showed that Fox may have failed in his journalistic duty to tell the truth to the audience. The judge rejected several of Fox’s First Amendment defenses and, in pre-trial rulings, barred the network from asserting that its guests’ alleged libelous statements were “newsworthy” and newsworthy.
Legal documents have released a slew of personal text messages, emails and transcripts of testimony revealing how Fox hosts, producers and executives really feel about Trump.
The damning behind-the-scenes messages were included in some 10,000 pages of court documents that were made public as part of the trial, many of which are likely to be shown in court.
For example, host Tucker Carlson said in one text message that he “passionately” hates Trump. In one November 2020 exchange, Tucker Carlson said that Trump’s decision to flout Joe Biden’s inauguration was “so destructive”, adding that Trump’s post-election behavior was “disgusting” and that he was “trying to look away”.
Murdoch emailed Colonel Allan of the New York Post, calling Trump’s campaign lies “bullish and damaging.”
Murdoch’s private messages have shown how his own thoughts contradict what Fox stands for. “Perhaps Sean (Hannity) and Laura (Ingram) have gone too far,” Murdoch wrote in an email to Fox News executive Suzanne Scott, apparently referring to the election denial following Trump’s defeat by President Joe Biden.
Delaware Supreme Court Justice Eric Davis said he would call a hearing Monday morning to formally announce the one-day delay. But no other hearing in the case is expected on Monday.
Opening statements are expected at some point on Tuesday. Jury selection is expected to wrap up on Tuesday morning and end with a panel of 12 jurors and 12 alternates. Opening statements are expected to begin immediately after the jury has seated. The trial is expected to last five to six weeks.
The Dominion will have to convince the jury that Fox acted with “genuine malice”—showing that the right-wing hosts and network leaders knew what was said on the air was a lie, but broadcast it anyway, or acted with such reckless disregard for the truth. that they should be held accountable.