Fox News defamation lawsuit goes to trial testing

Wilmington, Dell. – A jury will see her $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against voting machine company Fox News for the first time on Tuesday. The trial will test First Amendment protections and expose the role of the network in spreading stolen lies about his 2020 presidential election.

The scheduled start of the trial will take place after a one-day delay granted by the judge overseeing the case.

The Dominion Voting Systems case was scheduled for jury selection and opening statements on Monday. The Denver-based company seeks to hold Fox accountable for broadcasting false election fraud allegations that continue to disrupt U.S. politics.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis offered no explanation for the brief delay. However, a person close to Fox isn’t authorized to speak publicly about the status of the lawsuit and spoke on condition of anonymity, he suggested the two companies try to mediate the dispute.

The lawsuit examines the defamation standard that has guided the US media for nearly 60 years, reveals behind-the-scenes activities at Fox News in the weeks following the 2020 election, and misinformation that has turned the tide. shed light on the flow of The post-election wave of then-President Donald Trump losing to Joe Biden.

Fox News stars such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, as well as founder Rupert Murdoch, are set to testify during the six-week trial, though it’s unclear if witnesses will be called on Tuesday.

Dominion alleges that New York-based Fox News and its parent company, Fox Corporation, have effectively bulldozed the voting firm’s business and exposed its employees to intimidation.

Weeks after Election Day, a prominent Fox News host falsely claimed that the Dominion machine was programmed to steal votes from Republican incumbents and fill in Democratic challenger totals for Trump. I brought supporters.

Many of Fox’s hosts and executives did not believe this claim, but still allowed it to air.

“Fox spread and upheld one of the most pernicious lies in the history of this country,” Dominion’s attorneys wrote in court filings.

Pointing to communications between Fox officials, from executives to fact-checkers, Dominion claims the network deliberately amplified falsehoods for its ratings.

Fox said it only covered Trump’s challenge to the election results and gave viewers input from his lawyers and supporters.

“The Dominion lawsuit is a political crusade for financial gain, but the real cost is to value First Amendment rights,” the network said in a statement last week.

Fox said the host sometimes hinted at the need for evidence to back up the claims, noting that Dominion denied the allegations.

Federal and state election officials, exhaustive investigations in battleground states, and Trump’s own Attorney General found no widespread fraud that could have altered the outcome of the election. Nor did it provide any credible evidence that it had been done.

Dozens of courts, including Trump-appointed judges, have also dismissed his fraud allegations. declared.

The key question for jurors is whether Fox News acted with “actual malice.” This is the legal standard that applies when celebrities sue the press for defamation. Derived from a 1964 Supreme Court ruling, this standard means deliberately publishing or broadcasting falsehoods or operating with “reckless disregard” of whether or not they are true.

Dominion pointed to texts and email messages in which Fox insiders downplayed and, at times, outright mocked claims of vote manipulation. One of his Fox Corp. Vice Presidents called them “MIND BLOWINGLY NUTS.”

Carlson, Fox News’ biggest star, even expressed disdain for Trump supporters forming the core of the network’s audience. hates him fervently,” indicating that “we are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights.”

According to an email sent by Fox News founder and Fox Corporation chairman Murdoch while watching a press conference held by Trump’s lawyers on Nov. 19, 2020, the election allegations were “really crazy. I felt that it was.

Murdoch told Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott in a separate email earlier in the day, “I’m afraid something terrible is hurting everyone. Perhaps we It will also hurt,” he said.

Still, stories about the alleged conspiracy continued to air on Fox for weeks after the vote.

In a deposition in the case, Murdoch admitted that the 2020 presidential election was fair, and that some of Fox’s hosts appeared to support fake election claims. .

The network alleges that Dominion has culled personal messages, broadcast transcripts and affidavits from various Fox players, ignoring other comments and context in favor of Fox. The network also claims that Dominion’s claims of losing business are greatly exaggerated.

As the trial approached, Fox found himself in hot water with the judge. Davis last week accused the network of “misrepresenting” and delaying the disclosure of some information in the case. apologized for the lawyer’s misunderstanding regarding the disclosure of


Bowder reported from New York. Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz of New York and Eric Tucker of Washington contributed to this report.

The Associated Press receives support from several private foundations to strengthen its explanatory reporting on elections and democracy.

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