Fox News has reached a settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, a company that makes voting machines and software, for $787 million, ending a defamation lawsuit that accused the network of spreading false claims about the 2020 presidential election.
The lawsuit, filed by Dominion in March 2021, alleged that Fox News and some of its hosts and guests had deliberately aired baseless conspiracy theories that Dominion’s machines had switched votes from former President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden, or that Dominion had ties to Venezuela or China. The lawsuit sought $1.6 billion in damages, claiming that Fox News had harmed Dominion’s reputation and business, and endangered its employees.
The settlement was announced on Tuesday, just before the trial was set to begin in Delaware Superior Court. The jury had already been selected, but the opening statements were delayed for more than two hours as the parties negotiated behind closed doors.
In a joint statement, Fox News and Dominion said they were pleased to have resolved the dispute amicably, and that they hoped the settlement would allow the country to move forward from the issues raised by the lawsuit. Fox News also acknowledged that some of its statements about Dominion were false, but did not issue an apology or a retraction.
Dominion’s CEO John Poulos said at a press conference that the settlement was a “victory for truth” and that Fox News had admitted to telling lies. He said that money was a form of accountability, and that he hoped the settlement would deter other media outlets from spreading misinformation.
Dominion was one of two voting machine companies that sued Fox News for defamation over its election coverage. The other company, Smartmatic, is still pursuing its $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News and some of its hosts and guests. Fox News has said it will defend itself against Smartmatic’s claims.
The settlement with Dominion is one of the largest ever in a defamation case, and it comes after a series of legal setbacks for Fox News. Last week, the judge overseeing the case sanctioned Fox News for withholding evidence and failing to be candid with the court. He also said he would allow Dominion to depose Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch at Fox’s expense.