Dominion urged to 'fight' Fox News 'until the very end' after judge delays defamation trial
The Delaware judge who admonished Fox News’ lawyers late last week for withholding critical information from Dominion in the voting machines company’s substantially well-documented $1.6 billion defamation case Sunday night announced the start of the trial has been delayed 24 hours until Tuesday morning.
“The Court has decided to continue the start of the trial,” Judge Davis reportedly writes, apparently meaning “delay” instead of continuing, “including jury selection, until Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. I will make such an announcement tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 7E.”
Many across social media went into freak-out mode as experts offered guesses that Fox News might try to settle rather than open itself to further reputational devastation. Already Dominion has won a major ruling that blocks the right-wing media outlet from being able to claim the election lies it promoted were newsworthy. Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis ruled the evidence Dominion provided – at least hundreds of pages – “demonstrates that [it] is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” Davis, as Forbes had reported late last month, “found that Fox’s behavior constituted defamation per se, meaning the statements exposed the company ‘to public contempt, hatred, ridicule, aversion, or disgrace.'”
RELATED: ‘This Is Very Serious’: Judge Sanctions Fox News, Likely to Appoint ‘Special Master’ in Dominion $1.6 Billion Lawsuit
Some suggested the delay was to allow Dominion time to depose Rupert Murdoch, who Fox News’ attorneys only at the last minute admitted is officially an officer of Fox News. The judge repeatedly blasted the lawyers, sanctioned them, and threatened to open an investigation.
Longtime media correspondent Brian Selter offered his insight minutes after Judge Davis’ announcement:
Indeed, The Wall Street Journal reports, “Fox has made a late push to settle the dispute with Dominion Voting Systems out of court, people familiar with the situation said Sunday.”
And Stelter adds on Twitter, “As I reported for VF, Fox has already pursued settlement talks on multiple occasions. Dominion, knowing it has tremendous leverage, held firm. Many legal experts have wondered about the odds of a settlement hours before opening arguments…”
Many, as Stelter suggested nd the Journal later reported, worry the delay is to allow Fox News time to settle, in a case many feel the propaganda network has effectively already lost.
“I’m feeling settlement talks. Need more time. DON’T SETTLE!” tweeted attorney and Democratic activist Ron Filipkowski.
Journalist Ryan Busse said, “Dominion….if you are listening…pretty sure an army of patriots will crowd fund to keep you in this. I see hands going up now. Don’t settle unless it involves 50minutes of every fox hour with on-air admission of guilt, apologies and graveling.”
Meanwhile, Media Matters for America’s Matthew Gertz offers Dominion some advice: “Something Dominion should probably keep in mind is that after Fox News settled with Seth Rich’s family, Tucker Carlson resumed lying about Rich (albeit without explicitly mentioning his name).”
Writer and activist Victor Shi says, “America deserves to know exactly what happened at Fox & the extent to which they lied. America deserves to know the facts and truth. Dominion, fight until the very end.”
A Twitter account named This Is Debs writes, “Oh I’m so glad to see others say they hope dominion won’t settle. I think the damage Fox did affects the general population as much (or more) than Dominion and it’s in our interest for this case to be heard in open, public court. That is worth a lot more than settlement money.”
Former Asst. U.S. Attorney at SDNY, Richard Signorelli, tweets, “My guess on the @dominionvoting case is that Murdoch has instructed his attorneys to settle this case on the best terms possible but that it has to settle. Dominion knows this and will get a top dollar settlement if they stand firm. Murdoch does not want to go to trial.”
Dr. Allison Gill, who runs the popular Mueller She Wrote account, tweeted simply:
Please don’t settle.
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