Dominion’s €1.5bn defamation suit against Fox set to start Monday

Network aired false claims that the company’s machines were used to rig the 2020 US presidential election

Opening statements are due on Monday in Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion (€1.5 billion) defamation lawsuit against Fox News over the network’s airing of false claims that the company’s machines were used to rig the 2020 US presidential election.

Delaware Superior Court judge Eric Davis, presiding over the case in Wilmington, conducted jury selection on Thursday behind closed doors. The trial is one of the most closely watched US defamation cases in years, involving a leading cable news outlet with numerous conservative commentators.

Davis said he has “more than enough jurors” but will make his final selections on Monday before opening statements. The court will not be in session on Friday.

Dominion sued Fox Corp and Fox News in 2021, accusing them of ruining its reputation by broadcasting false claims by Republican former president Donald Trump and his lawyers that the Denver-based company’s voting machines were used to rig the outcome of the election against him and in favour of Democrat Joe Biden.


The trial is considered a test of whether Fox’s coverage crossed the line between ethical journalism and the pursuit of ratings, as Dominion alleges and Fox denies.

Fox had argued that coverage of the vote-rigging claims was inherently newsworthy and protected by the US Constitution’s first amendment guarantee of press freedom. Davis rejected that argument.

The primary question for jurors will be whether Fox knowingly spread false information or recklessly disregarded the truth, the standard of “actual malice” Dominion must show to prevail in a defamation case.

The jurors are being drawn from Delaware’s New Castle County, where Democrats outnumber Republicans more than two-to-one, according to the state’s Department of Elections. Biden represented Delaware in the US Senate from 1973 until 2009.

Fox News and its conservative commentators often were supportive of Trump during his presidency.

Fox has argued in legal filings that Dominion’s $1.6 billion damages request is “untethered from reality” and designed to enrich the company’s investors.

Davis on Wednesday sanctioned Fox News, handing Dominion a fresh chance to gather evidence after Fox withheld records until the eve of trial. This evidence included recordings made by a former Fox employee, Abby Grossberg, who is suing the network.

Davis said he would also very likely tap an outside investigator to look into Fox’s late disclosure of the evidence and take whatever steps necessary to remedy the situation, which the judge described as troubling.

A Fox spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday: “As counsel explained to the court, Fox produced the supplemental information from Ms. Grossberg when we first learned it.” – Reuters