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Fox Settles Dominion Defamation Lawsuit for $787.5M

Fox Corp and Fox News settled a defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million, avoiding a trial that would have scrutinized the media giant for its coverage of false vote-rigging claims in the 2020 U.S. election.

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Historic Settlement Largest for American Media Company

The settlement, announced just before the trial began, is the largest ever for an American media company. Dominion CEO John Poulos called it "historic" and said it highlights the importance of truthful reporting in the media for democracy.

Fox Avoids Trial, Top Executives, and Hosts Spared Testimony

The settlement spared Fox from having some of its best-known figures called to the witness stand, including Rupert Murdoch, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Jeanine Pirro. Fox anchor Neil Cavuto reported the settlement on air, reading a statement by Fox acknowledging the false claims about Dominion.

Fox Corp Shares and Financial Situation

Following the disclosure of the settlement amount, Fox Corp shares closed up slightly but fell 1% in after-hours trading. The company has the cash on hand to pay the settlement, with Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch previously stating it had about $4 billion cash available.

Dominion's Claims Against Fox News

Dominion sued Fox Corp and Fox News, alleging that its business was ruined by the false vote-rigging claims aired by the news outlet. The trial would have examined whether Fox's coverage crossed the line between ethical journalism and the pursuit of ratings.

Another Defamation Lawsuit Looms for Fox News

Adding to Fox's legal risks, Smartmatic, another U.S. voting technology company, is pursuing its defamation lawsuit seeking $2.7 billion in damages in a New York state court. Fox had previously argued that the election claims were inherently newsworthy and protected by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.