Fox Reportedly Agrees to $787 Million Settlement in Dominion Defamation Lawsuit

Fox News has reached a settlement with Dominion Voting Systems for a reported $787 million. That was roughly half of the $1.6 billion originally sought in the defamation case, but represents a massive payout to the company which claimed to have been defamed by the network.

As a legal analyst on Fox News, I have largely refrained from writing about the case. Many of us who teach in the areas of tort and constitutional law were uneasy over the impact of a verdict in light of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in New York Times v. Sullivan in the 1960s. It has little to do with Dominion or Fox. It has a great deal to do with the rights of free speech and the free press.

Dominion brought a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News and parent company Fox Corporation in March 2021 based on interviews and commentary on claims by President Donald Trump and his associates that Dominion’s voting machines were used to rig the 2020 election.

Fox was recently hit by damaging rulings by Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis in clearing the path for the lawsuit.

While all of the details are not known, the settlement will avoid any trial and any precedent over key legal questions including (1) the line between opinion and fact in the media and (2) the application of the “actual malice” standard to these statements.

Some on this blog previously noted that my circumspection in commenting on the case was likely an effort to avoid any appearance of bias or a possible conflict of interest. I not only work for Fox as a legal analyst, but I came up in the discovery, albeit tangentially, in the litigation. One of the emails produced in discovery from Rupert Murdoch showed him favorably raising my analysis while warning hosts not to echo “sore loser” claims. Murdoch was encouraging balanced coverage. The email concerned my analysis that there was no real evidence of voter fraud that would change the outcome and that we would have to wait to see if such evidence was submitted in court filings. On Fox, I criticized the Trump legal team for failing to do so at their long-awaited press conference and instead offerring unsupported conspiracy theories.

The settlement avoids what would have been a lengthy trial and likely years of appeals. In the Nick Sandmann controversy, settlements were reached where media made express false statements of fact. In that case, a videotape clearly refuted what was being reported as an attack by the then high school student against an elderly Native American activist.

This case was a bit different in the inclusion of more vicarious liability for the statements made by high-ranking Trump associates in interviews. (Fox itself recently reached a settlement with an individual who claimed specific false allegations against him in the voting controversy).

The case was likely to address the obligation of media not only to report but to retort or rebut viewpoints. That created concerns even among Fox critics over its impact on journalism. The settlement means that this will not be a case for the law books, but it will obviously be debated for years to come.

These views expressed here are my own and not those of any of my associated media organizations. 

201 thoughts on “Fox Reportedly Agrees to $787 Million Settlement in Dominion Defamation Lawsuit”

  1. Brace yourself for a bad outcome whenever you see hard-to-fire government bureaucrats buying things they don’t understand using other people’s money, which is almost always the case when state and local election officials sit down with Dominion sales reps.

  2. As president, Trump was Putin’s worst nightmare. Russia’s revenues were decimated by plummeting world prices for oil and natural gas. And Putin, intimidated by Trump, did not dare invade the bordering nation of Ukraine.

    A year after Biden entered office, Putin decided to invade Ukraine. Biden responded by launching a high-risk, proxy war against Putin and by initiating a boycott of Russian oil and natural gas. Suddenly in dire need of revenues, Putin agreed to sell oil and natural gas to America’s number one enemy, China, and to use a portion of the revenues to acquire arms from China for the war in Ukraine.

    A genius Biden is not.

  3. I suspect that Dominion was pressured to settle by the MSM, mainly because if the case stood up in court, most of the MSM would be getting sued over the Russia Hoax lies they generated with impunity. The fields of media lying can be bountiful in the right venue.
    So I suspect corporate media told them:
    “You got your pound of flesh, now stop before we get sucked into court on your precedent.”

    1. Chuckiechan: there is NO Russia Hoax lie. Check out the Republican Senate Committee investigation report on this, since you wouldn’t believe the Mueller Report, or probably wouldn’t believe what Dan Coats, head of US intelligence agencies said when he confirmed that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian hackers to strategically spread lies about Hllary Clinton on social media. Now, you’ve conjured up some theory that Dominion was “pressured” by…what—NBC, CBS, MSNBC, PBS, WaPO, the NYT–who? Does the RNC pay people like you to keep harping on a nonexistent “Russia Hoax”, or to make up conspiracies out of thin air?

      What IS true, and not a conspiracy, is that Fox published lies about voting machines made by Dominion and SmartMatic that said the machines took votes from Trump and awarded them to Biden. That didn’t happen, and they KNEW it before they published the lies.

      1. The lie… is that the machines are safe and secure.

        The truth is that the 2020 election was rigged.
        The truth is that the machines were rigged.
        The truth is that the covid shots are neither safe, nor effective.

        1. Just one example of election interference (besides rigged machines):
          “The “50 former intelligence former intelligence officials” who falsely accused the Hunter Biden laptop of being “Russian disinfo” letter in 2020 was organized by former CIA officials on request of the Biden campaign, according to new testimony.”

    2. I said this would settle from the Start.

      Neither Fox nor Dominion could afford to LOSE.

      Presuming the settlement was for the amount Alleged – Fox substantially overpaid. The DVS case was a loser from the start.

      But they had a bad venue, a bad judge, a bad jury poo, and they would almost certainly have lost repeatedly – until they got to an apelate court with a brain and an understanding of the constitution with a substantive issue and could have taken a long time and resulted in lots of bad publicity.

      Fox gets to make its own decisions – I would have held out.

      It is likely DVSW would have prevailed before a bad judge and jury – but lost on appeal.
      But DVS could not afford a loss anywhere ever on this – which is why DVS settled

      Settlements are extremely common. They mean nothing.

    3. The rest of the media had been stupidly silent or even publicly argued against their own interests.

      We have seen this before – in the Asange case, and with the more recent ukraine leaks.

      It is really weird watching the NYTimes – the newspaper involved in the Pentagon Papers.
      Actively assisting DOJ to go after someone leaking government secrets.

      I guess they were upset because he did not leak to THEM.

      regardless a DVS win on this case that actually survived appeal would have made journalism impossible.

  4. What you’re calling “theft” occurs in all elections. It’s not theft, despite your desire to distort the meaning of that word, like Humpty Dumpty.

    1. I advocate simple vote electronic and then PRINT IT OUT – you review, agree and receive bar code receipt
      then recount is simple
      and unless you are incapacitated or have valid reason to vote by mail
      NO MORE to prevent ballot harvesting as democrats do

      great example is that fetterman guy – can’t speak sentence, yet had 500,000 mail in votes before debate

      1. Ballot marking devices and vote scanning devices have a history of malfunctioning on election day—not anything fraudulent, necessarily, but just not working—-causing very long lines of would-be voters extending out the door. Long lines can increase the likelihood that people become frustrated and decide not to vote. Processes based on hand-marked ballots and hand-counted votes don’t have such issues.

  5. This case misses …probably on conspiracy purpose…..the entire CASE! What a red herring….what a joke! Voting and fair voting is a government function! Dominion only gets revenue via the tax payers contracts to do that business! No doubt where was it shown that the tax payer would defend a dominion suit? You work with the govt….you square corners!. The most damages they could have is our election system… you are telling me…..dispute all our volunteers…despite all zucked bucks….it costs us 2.5 billion to do counting? of 250 million votes? How much is that per vote? They wanted how much per vote? I’m pretty sure we can hire ‘non hackable ppl’ for a fraction of that….or do a poll tax……but here we are a govt contractor….shakes down! What’s next ? Fox reports on a lacking performance of a ship builder? Can’t do that “news’s or the contractor will use for defamation! What is defamation? Was it defamatory for the state of Texas not to certify dominion to count their ekections? Can we please remember dominion is a mere government contractor….who gets maybe a twenty plus contract! Get here we are conflating them with a normal company….which they are not! Yet Fox was quick to settle despite the actual facts and contracts. Why? And why did a judge approve a settlement so large? If we did the math ….what it costs per voter…..any a state would just blatantly do a 3 dollar poll tax….and hire people to be there and be neighbors who count the votes not strangers….what is the most 250 voters….2.5 billion damages? Ten bucks a vote? I know a lot can people who would work a poll for ten bucks a vote! Let the people decide …would we rather have a dollar poll tax that funds the polls. Or a ten dollar per vote to dominion that Texas didn’t even trust?

  6. JT is not being honest here. It was not about Trump and his associates lying about the election on Fox News. Murdoch under oath admits Fox News stars endorsed false stolen-election claim knowing it was false! The case was not against Trump and his associates, there would be no case since they have the freedom of speech. Murdoch endorsed the lie to keep his viewership. Perhaps the real reason that Fox New settle the case is because Murdoch didn’t want to be drilled in court, a case that could go on for years. I agree that Fox News night have won the case but it would be a nightmare for Murdoch, he’s not a young man. Dominion was damaged by the lies perpetrated by Fox, but 3/4 of a billion dollars certainly was much more than the real damages, now everyone at Dominion can party. It was an awful what Fox News did, They feed into the crazy people hating the liberals and really believed that somehow the liberals cheated in the election. That was dishonest, disgusting and help divide America more and gave Trump more power to try to overturn a fair election and help cause January 6 riots. I not going to read JT anymore, Money talks and that is why he support Fox News, nice big income for him.

    1. “really believed that somehow the liberals cheated in the election.”

      $400 million from Zuckerberg to influence the election. 51 intelligence “experts” influencing the election. The MSM and various social media companies influencing the election. The FBI and various alphabet agencies influencing the election. (And that’s just for starters.)

      When you systematically game an election, that’s grand-scale cheating.

        1. “You don’t provide any evidence of anything illegal.”

          But there is such a thing as: Immoral, dishonest, grossly irresponsible, manipulative.

            1. That may be true or not, but then there is the left that is all those things plus cheaters and liars.

              Trump is a diamond in the rough who helped Make America Great Again. The left is a boil on humanity that threatens civilization as it metastasis from place to place. It starts at the brain and works its way elsewhere.

        1. George227 – please take the time and space to tell exactly how the Russians interfered in the 2016 Presidential election. Millions would like to know.

            1. Though you don’t know the name of the Russian working for Clinton was not in that report which is now known to be error ridden since the hidden facts were released. That report is meaningless and left for those unaware.

                1. .Trump is not going to prison because he did nothing criminal. Biden is not going to prison because he is a criminal, and will stay out because of his dirty politics and political connections. Hunter may not go to prison because his father will pardon him. The rest of the family probably belongs in prison, but that would make Biden look bad and push him toward prison. Therefore for the same reason, Biden doesn’t end up in prison neither does his family. At least no one will be sentenced without leniency.

                  The left touts how wonderful they are to regular working people and minorities. They release murderers from jail, but who do they kill and harm? Normal working people and minorities. Don’t you care about those people?

                  The left and right spent a fortune on the banking failure, but who did they help? The multimillionaires and the billionaires who they bailed out at the expense of the little guy. Was AIG going to go under? No. Who led the treasury? The ex-head of Goldman Sachs. Maybe Goldman Sachs would have lost 10% of their investment in AIG, but instead earned a profit of about the same amount.

                  The same happens daily, but you, the little guy, keep pounding the soil to make the rich richer and the poor poorer so that your political (baseball) team wins. How ludicrous that is.

                  It’s horrid how foolish and unknowledgeable some people are.

                2. Send me to prison! Let’s get it over with! The 2 trillion Rumsfeld was looking g for was spent on special ops. Ya know the lajes 86 who bailed out Bush from the NATO summit. A couple years before they waxed seal team six! Yeah let’s have those hearings! What we don’t know and know we don’t know but could know….Mullins ” adm me ” is still alive! Asshats!

                    1. But they want us to believe….in their super natural…..that some how at skin walker ranch….it’s super natural….2 trillion dollars later. Whist their own security depends on antenna ears and the “super natural” concocted … every time! When really they are clueless and have no idea how the holy spirit operates! Their blasphemy in 2 trillion $ gives them no security! The holy ghost could pick the honestly the Russian orthodox church first. That’s how little they actually comprehend of the holy ghost. All these trillions $ later! Let’s be clear usa was just defeated after 20 years….by the Taliban hiding in caves. The advanced technology had less effect to win. If that didn’t cause belief in the holy ghost? What does it take? And now the holy ghost is firmly behind its people…..the Finnish who have regular scouting and have been aware since 1945….put up a barbed wire fence? Feel mocked much? And we know your mental is just to mock! But we know who we are! And ya all soon will be the ones ridiculed. You wanted war! I will give you it. But my Americans will fair and square win it. George Patton reincarnated wanted me say this….was his religion. Respectfully jaelyn patton! And you all can’t disprove his religion at all….indeed by lajes 86….545499a he has more proof than Jesus christ! Please don’t shoot the messanger! Because that would be fantastical on your part! What’s next? You certainly can’t jail me for believing in religions? Or sexes? So why would it could you imprison me! Oh because lajes 86 545499a? What’s that? Meaningless garble from 25 years ago? Nothing classified was revealef! But you still spend my fellow man into oblivian….someday I’ll meet my maker….and all have to answer and you set my soul up for failure. You suck. So sick my trans cocky too!no one of us on the rolls should have ever protected any you lying dock suckers. Not even for the 2 trillion! .

  7. It is comical to see Democrat politicians and Democrat journalists, who lie all day, every day, frowning with grave concern about the Dominion case.

      1. America was founded, imperfectly, on the principle of whataboutism. In an ongoing effort to increase the presence of whataboutism in America, we fought a revolutionary war and a civil war and enacted the 13th, 14th, and 19th amendments to the Constitution. Later on, in the mid-1900s, the federal courts and Congress overturned Jim Crow laws, which were defined by their rejection of whataboutism throughout the South. So, it is sad to observe that now, in 2023, America is engaged in a nationwide effort to reject whataboutism.

        1. Whataboutism – isn’t that that strict brand of Islam based on the teachings of Muhammad bin Abd al. Whatabout, who lived in the Arabian peninsula in the eighteenth century?

  8. Lying to the public is a perfectly acceptable thing to do if you are a left-wing journalist. A word of caution, however. At first, some journalists find themselves having to deal with feelings of guilt. But, as the NY Times discovered regarding its false Trump-Russia-collusion story, those feelings quickly dissipate if you win a Pulitzer Prize.

  9. Breaking News

    ALVIN L. BRAGG, JR., in his official capacity as District Attorney for New York County,


    JIM JORDAN, in his official capacity as Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, and MARK F. POMERANTZ,


    The request by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr. for a temporary restraining order, enjoining enforcement of the subpoena issued to Mark F. Pomerantz by the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States House of Representatives, chaired by Congressman Jim Jordan, is DENIED.

  10. As we bid farewell to the Dominion-Fox lawsuit, recall how Tucker Carlson’s producer described their viewers: as “dumb” “cousin-f—ing” “terrorists.”

  11. The First Amendment issue which this settlement avoided will reappear in the litigation filed by SmartmaticUSA. It is in the public interest that this issue be resolved by SCOTUS.

  12. Now when does the NYT, AP, WaPo,CNN, MSNBC, etc make their payouts to Justice Kavanaugh, Justice Coney Barrett, Gen Flynn, Donald Trump, The Great Barrington docs, Rudy Guiliani, etc. Fox should not have paid until these other media outlets did the same.

    1. That’s not the way lawsuits work.

      If Kavanaugh, etc., believe that they were defamed, they need to file suit.

  13. OT:
    SCOTUS has extended their emergency administrative stay on the Mifepristone case until Friday.


    The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs, AINOs) in America have been cheating elections, certainly since Lincoln.

    Nixon beat Kennedy – 1960 was a debacle and underworld cluster —- that JFK would have probably wished he had back in 1964, eh?

    The Constitution requires that elections be held on a “day,” one 24-hour period, and in a “place,” not possibly the post office, perhaps a polling place?

    Turnout was 11.6% in 1788, by design.

    Vote criteria were generally male, European, 21, 50 lbs. Sterling or 50 acres in early election.

    Never was America intended to be a one man, one vote democracy and “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

    “the people are nothing but a great beast…

    I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

    “The true reason (says Blackstone) of requiring any qualification, with regard to property in voters, is to exclude such persons, as are in so mean a situation, that they are esteemed to have no will of their own.”

    “If it were probable that every man would give his vote freely, and without influence of any kind, then, upon the true theory and genuine principles of liberty, every member of the community, however poor, should have a vote… But since that can hardly be expected, in persons of indigent fortunes, or such as are under the immediate dominion of others, all popular states have been obliged to establish certain qualifications, whereby, some who are suspected to have no will of their own, are excluded from voting; in order to set other individuals, whose wills may be supposed independent, more thoroughly upon a level with each other.”

    – Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, 1775

  15. FOXNEWS proved money is speech, to further their political ideological agenda knowing that their viewers will still tune in to their alternative reality and proven lies, money is no object.

      1. He is referencing the lies Washington Post, NBC, and CNN leveled against Nicholas Sandmann / Covington Catholic teenage boy, whereby they settled out of court after he filed lawsuits against them for $250 Million each. He is also referencing the lies by the liberal news media in their Russia hoax agitprop so that Biden could steal the election, as documented by the Columbia Journalism investigation. Fishy has many other cases by the MSM that he was contemplating particularly the embarrassment the Twitter Files revealed by a liberal Democrat journalist, Mark Taibbi. However, like a fish that loses it buoyancy, he feared going belly up.

        Our current US Democracy is broken and unworkable because of the lying of the news media outlets

        Looking back on the coverage of Trump, 4 parts

        Editor’s Note:
        No narrative did more to shape Trump’s relations with the press than Russiagate. The story, which included the Steele dossier and the Mueller report among other totemic moments, resulted in Pulitzer Prizes as well as embarrassing retractions and damaged careers…..

        Part 4

        One frequent and vague catchphrase—“people (or person) familiar with”—is widely used by many journalists: the Times used it over a thousand times in stories involving Trump and Russia between October 2016 and the end of his presidency, according to a Nexis search. The last executive editor I worked for, Bill Keller, frowned on its use. He told the staff repeatedly the phrase was “so vague it could even mean the reporter.” The Times, in a statement to CJR, said, “We have strong rules in place governing the use of anonymous sources.” Other outlets mentioned in this piece declined to discuss their anonymous-sourcing practices.

        Another anonymous-sourcing convention that was turbocharged in the Trump era was the use of more neutral descriptors like “government official” or “intelligence official” or “American official” to mask congressional leakers. A few reporters admitted that to me, but, of course, only anonymously. Here’s how it works. First, a federal agency like the CIA or FBI secretly briefs Congress. Then Democrats or Republicans selectively leak snippets. Finally, the story comes out, using vague attribution. “It was a problem for us,” Mike Kortan, the former FBI spokesman until 2018, told me. Kortan, who also worked in Congress, added: “We would brief Congress, try and give them a full picture with the negative stuff, and then a member of Congress can cherry-pick the information and the reporter doesn’t know they’ve been cherry-picked.” The typical reader or viewer is clueless.

        Walter Lippmann wrote about these dangers in his 1920 book Liberty and the News. Lippmann worried then that when journalists “arrogate to themselves the right to determine by their own consciences what shall be reported and for what purpose, democracy is unworkable.”

  16. Jonathan: My take away from the Fox/Dominion settlement is that it was a big win for Rupert Murdock. Sure, $787.5 million is a lot of money but it won’t affect Murdock’s bottom line. Over the years Fox has paid over $600 million in various settlements. So Murdock considers the Dominion settlement just the cost of doing business. Without a trial Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity will escape having to testify in open court about all the intentional lies they told on air about Trump’s false claims about the election. So there will be no accountability. Murdock got practically everything he wanted. No admission of responsibility. Just this official statement: “This settlement reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards”.

    In this column you attempt to distance yourself from your all the toxic lies your employer was putting out every night about the 2020 election. Your silence about the Dominion defamation case is hard to reconcile with your claim Fox was just exercising its “right of free speech and the free press”. This case was not about “free speech”. It was about Fox intentionally spreading lies in support of Donald Trump. That was clear from a number of Judge Davis’ rulings–especially the finding that Fox’s claims were false. The only Q for the jury would be a finding of “actual malice”. And I think Dominion could have proved that. So your continued assertion this case was about “free speech” is absurd.

    Your claim that Murdock was “encouraging balanced coverage” of the Dominion controversy. is laughable. Murdock’s only concern was keeping Fox viewers from defecting if they were told the truth. That was the driving force behind Fox’s continued pushing of the false narrative about Dominion’s voting machines.

    Notwithstanding your disclaimer, everything in your column is a defense of Fox and their position in the Dominion defamation lawsuit. The fact that Murdock was so favorably impressed by one of your columns shows he pays close attention to what you write. It’s clear you know your role as a paid Fox employee–to provide an echo chamber for Murdock’s talking point of the day.

    The basic problem with the Fox/Dominion settlement is it does not provide accountability for Fox’s lies. Without that Fox will continue to spew out conspiracy theories that you will echo with your columns. That will make a mockery of Fox’s assertion is adhering to the “highest journalistic standards”. A young woman on Twitter put the settlement in generational terms: “I lost my parents to Fox years ago. This settlement is not going to help me get my parents back! “.

  17. In my county in NY, you mark your ballot and then feed it to a scanner that gives you no confidence that what you put down was scanned accurately. I don’t know why after it scans it just doesn’t put an image of what was scanned so you can then look it over and then push accept.

    Aslo, I don’t understand why the ballots can’t have two barcodes, one that stays with the ballot and one you tear off as a receipt. You should then be able to look up your ballet using your barcode and see your ballot and where it currently is located.

    I’m sure liberal idiots would probably say this is racist somehow.

    1. Where I live, you go to a computer and make your choices. When you are finished, you press a button and a paper is printed out that shows your choices. You review it for accuracy and then feed it into a ballot tabulator that records your choices. You then personally feed your paper ballot into a locked box. If a recount is requested, they pull the papers, which have no personal identification information, and run them through a tabulating machine. If there were to be any question about the machines, there are the hard-copy ballots there that could be manually checked. All of this is overseen by both Republican and Democratic poll workers, who check your ID and tell you which computer to go to.

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