Dominion Voting Systems Corp. is set to receive $787.5 million under a settlement with Fox News that averted a long-awaited trial Tuesday.
Rather than giving statements opening a six-week trial as planned, attorneys for Dominion Voting Systems announced that Fox had agreed to a resolution of the Canada-based company’s defamation claims.
“Money is accountability. We got that today from Fox,” said Stephen Shackelford of Susman & Godfrey, lead counsel for Dominion in the case that was filed over two years ago seeking $1.6 billion. “We’re not done yet. We’ve got some other people that have got some accountability coming towards them.”
Two and a half hours after opening statements were set to begin, Judge Eric Davis of the Delaware Superior Court called in the jury. Voir dire had taken up the bulk of the morning session in court.
“The parties have resolved their case, and that means your service is done,” he said. “Without you, the parties would not have been able to resolve this situation.”
Attorneys did not comment on whether the settlement includes any non-monetary elements.
“We acknowledge the court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false,” Fox said in a statement issued after the settlement was announced. “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.”
The trial, which was slated to last six weeks, would likely have featured much-anticipated testimony from Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch and high profile hosts like Tucker Carlson. Those appearances were averted by the last-minute accord.
“I think this is the best lawyering I’ve had, ever,” said Davis, who has spent 13 years on the bench.
The reported settlement sum is about half of Dominion’s public demand of $1.6 billion in damages from Fox News’ alleged defamation of the company in its coverage of the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
This artist sketch depicts Dominion Voting Systems attorney Justin Nelson, standing left, and Fox News attorney Daniel Webb, standing at right, speaking to Judge Eric Davis before finishing jury selection in Delaware Superior Court Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in Wilmington, Del. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)