Dominion Voting Systems, a company that was falsely accused of election fraud following the 2020 presidential election, is seeking $1.6 billion from Fox News, which aired misleading information about Dominion.
On Friday, a judge in Delaware deemed the information broadcast on Fox News to be false and sent the case to trial, stating that “the statements at issue were dramatically different than the truth.”
The trial is scheduled to begin in mid-April unless a settlement is reached beforehand.
Fox News claims that it was responsibly reporting on allegations made by representatives of the then-sitting President Donald Trump.
The judge acknowledged that Fox News was not entirely to blame for the belief among conspiracy theorists that the election was rigged, but noted that it was “noteworthy” that some Americans still hold that belief.
A jury will hear Fox News’ defense in a few weeks and determine whether the cable channel that disseminated fabricated news defamed Dominion.
Fox News has stated that it will continue to advocate for “a free press” as the legal proceedings progress.
Dominion said in a statement it was satisfied with the court’s ruling Friday, adding, “We look forward to going to trial.”
Both parties requested Judge Davis to determine whether Fox News acted with malicious intent, but he decided that a jury should make that decision. The jury will also decide if the damages inflicted by Fox News, which has higher ratings than other cable news stations, amount to the $1.6 billion that Dominion is seeking.
According to pre-trial text messages and emails, Fox News executives, producers, and hosts knew that their reporting was false, but were concerned that their ratings and stock prices would decrease if they upset viewers who wanted to believe that Trump won the 2020 presidential election.
Fox News accuses Dominion of selectively using quotes that require additional context. The media company is also facing a $2.7 billion lawsuit from Smartmatic, an election technology company that has made similar accusations.
Dominion has also filed a lawsuit against right-wing media outlets OANN and Newsmax for their coverage of the 2020 election.