Unless Rupert Murdoch and Fox News settle soon, Dominion Voting Systems will have its day in court in its defamation case against the combative conservative cable newser.
Heading to toward an April 17 trial start in the $1.6 billion matter, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis today denied all of Fox’s attempts to have the case tossed out. Conversely, Judge Davis granted a portion of Dominion’s own summary judgement motion and denied other parts.
From the beginning, Dominion has claimed that Fox intentionally and knowingly spreading false claims about the company amidst the now indicted Donald Trump’s bellicose assertions the 2020 election was stolen for Joe Biden. FNC has said it was covering a newsworthy topic ultimately in the public interest and doing its job. Though hordes of embarrassing (to put it mildly) private texts, emails and other correspondence from the likes of Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Fox execs and Murdoch himself clearly paint a portrait of an organization saying one thing to its loyal viewers and saying something very different when the cameras are off.
A point that Judge Davis made bluntly in his130-page ruling released Friday:
Through its extensive proof, Dominion has met its burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact as to falsity,” Fox therefore had the burden to show an issue of material fact in turn. Fox failed to meet that burden. The evidence developed in this civil proceeding demonstrates that is CRYSTAL clear that none of the statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true (Italics, capitalization and bolding from Judge Davis) Therefor the Court will grant summary judgment in favor of Dominion on the element of falsity
Focusing further, Judge Davis’ ruling narrows the scope of what the jury will consider to the culpability of Fox Corp. for defamation, whether Fox Corp. or Fox News engaged in actual malice, and whether Dominion incurred any damages.
A spokesperson for Dominion said to Deadline today: “We are gratified by the Court’s thorough ruling soundly rejecting all of Fox’s arguments and defenses, and finding as a matter of law that their statements about Dominion are false. We look forward to going to trial.”
“This case is and always has been about the First Amendment protections of the media’s absolute right to cover the news,” said a Fox News Media spokesperson Friday after the ruling was released. “Fox will continue to fiercely advocate for the rights of free speech and a free press as we move into the next phase of these proceedings.”
Jury selection for the trial in Joe Biden’s adopted home state is set to start on April 13.