Looks like Dominon Voting Systems is a step closer to winning its defamation cases against Fox News and Newsmax. Judge Refuses To Dismiss Dominion’s Case Against Fox News’ Parent Company:
Dominion Voting Systems scored a legal victory in its efforts to hold Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch’s Fox Corp. liable in its defamation lawsuit, not just Fox News, after the network featured guests and personalities who amplified false election rigging claims.
A Delaware judge [last] Tuesday refused to dismiss Dominion’s case against the parent company, after ruling in December that the voting company’s case against the news network could move forward. The judge, Eric M. Davis, said that Dominion had “pleaded facts sufficient to satisfy Delaware’s minimum pleading standard with respect to Fox Corporation.”
Dominion’s lawsuit claims that even though Rupert Murdoch did not believe then-President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud, “he nevertheless encouraged on-air personalities to perpetuate these baseless claims.”
The judge wrote that the allegations “support a reasonable inference that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch either knew Dominion had not manipulated the election or at least recklessly disregarded the truth when they allegedly caused Fox News to propagate its claims about Dominion.” [The New York Times v. Sulivan “actual malice” standard for media defamation.]
The lawsuit against Fox Corp. claims that Fox News continued to give Rudy Giuliani and other figures platforms as the network faced competitive pressures from Newsmax and One America News Network. In the aftermath of the election, Dominion was a frequent target of false claims by Donald Trump and his allies.
Fox News has cited the First Amendment in its defense, arguing that it was engaged in coverage of a topic, the presidential election, in the public interest.
A Fox Corp. spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment. Davis did toss out Dominion’s claim against Fox Broadcasting, finding that it had failed to state a claim that the subsidiary also was liable for defamation.
Dominion sued Fox News for $1.6 billion in March, 2021, claiming that the network “sold a false story of election fraud.” It later filed suit against Fox Corp. and Fox Broadcasting, a move seen as a way to force discovery of the parent company and the Murdochs. The lawsuit cited a report that Rupert Murdoch spoke with Trump on Nov. 6, 2020 “and informed him that he had lost the election.” The day after the election, the lawsuit alleges, Murdoch called a Republican leader and urged him to “refuse to endorse Mr. Trump’s conspiracy theories and baseless claims of fraud.”
Nevertheless, Fox News Media personalties like Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs continued to advance the election fraud claims, with Giuliani and another attorney, Sidney Powell, as guests and Dominion often cited as central to election rigging claims.
The company’s name came up again on Tuesday, when a Georgia election official, Gabriel Sterling, testified to the January 6th Committee that he heard from a “shaken” Dominion project manager about threats that a contractor had been receiving from an adherents to QAnon. Sterling said that he checked Twitter and found that someone had tweeted a message: “You committed treason. May God have mercy on your soul.” Sterling said that there was also a GIF of a noose posted with the message. “I lost it. I just got irate,” Sterling told the committee. He then held a press conference in which he warned that “someone’s going to get killed” amid the threats on election officials and workers.
Davis last week refused to dismiss Dominion’s defamation lawsuit against Newsmax, which saw a post-election viewership bounce as some of its personalities spotlighted the claims of election fraud.
A Delaware judge denied Newsmax’s motion to dismiss a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems alleging the network’s reporting about the voting software company following the 2020 election was false.
Judge Eric M. Davis of the Superior Court of Delaware ruled Dominion at this stage has a case for defamation and allowed the company’s suit to advance.
“The Complaint supports the reasonable inference that Newsmax either knew its statements about Dominion’s role in the election fraud were false or had a high degree of awareness that they were false,” Davis wrote in his decision.
The judge also said Newsmax continued pushing election fraud claims, even though the network “knew the allegations were probably false.”
“Newsmax possessed countervailing evidence of election fraud from the Department of Justice, election experts, and Dominion at the time it had been making its statements,” the judge wrote.
Dominion sued Newsmax Media Inc. on Aug. 9, 2021, for $1.6 billion, arguing the right-wing media company deliberately made false statements about the 2020 presidential election and Dominion’s voting machines. On the same day, Dominion filed two additional defamation lawsuits against One America News Network and former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne.
Newsmax told HuffPost it was “not surprised” by Thursday’s ruling. The same judge ruled in December 2021 that Dominion’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News could proceed.
“We are not surprised by the judge’s decision as this was a preliminary motion and he made a very similar ruling in the Fox News case,” the company said in a statement.
By the time these lawsuits are over, Dominion Voting Systems could wind up ownng Fox News, Newsmax and One America News Network, or these companies will write checks with a lot of zeroes to make it go away.