Fox News has settled its case with Dominion voting systems, according to multiple reports. Fox News must pay Dominion $787.5 million, per the settlement agreement.
CBS congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane tweets that the judge has confirmed that "parties have resolved their case."
The unspecified settlement avoids what had been expected to be an embarrassing trial for the conservative outlet.
CNN reports that “the judge just announced in court that a settlement has been reached in the historic defamation case between News and Dominion Voting Systems.”
In a statement, Fox News said that “we are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems. We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards. We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues.”
Dominion Voting Systems had sued Fox News for $1.6 billion, alleging the conservative network promoted Donald Trump's baseless claim that its machines were used to rig the 2020 presidential election that he lost to Joe Biden.
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Dominion alleged that the network began endorsing Trump's conspiracy because the channel was losing its audience after it became the first television outlet to call the southwestern state of Arizona for Biden, effectively projecting the Democrat would win the presidency.
Fox News denied defamation. The network claimed it was only reporting on Trump's allegations, not supporting them, and is protected by free speech rights enshrined in the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Dominion's lawsuit has proved embarrassing to Fox.
Murdoch admitted in a deposition in the case that some on-air hosts had "endorsed" the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
But he denied that the network in its entirety had pushed the lie, according to court documents filed by Dominion in February.
A separate filing showed Murdoch had described comments by former Trump advisors Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell pushing Trump's claims as "really crazy stuff. And damaging."
Dominion's lawyers also released a trove of internal Fox News communications in which some commentators expressed a dislike of Trump, despite praising him on air.
"I hate him passionately," Carlson said of the ex-president after his election loss.
Fox News has accused Dominion of "cherry-picking and taking quotes out of context."
With additional reporting by AFP