A last-second settlement has been reached in Dominion Voting Systems’ historic defamation lawsuit against Fox News, the parties announced Tuesday in court.
“Both sides have settled their cases,” said Delaware Supreme Court Justice Eric Davis. “Your presence here…was of the utmost importance. Without you, the parties could not have resolved their situation,” the judge told the jurors before adjudicating them.
The settlement appears to have been brokered while the trial was on the verge of opening statements in Wilmington, Delaware.
After the grand jury was sworn in earlier Tuesday, an unexplained delay of hours halted proceedings in court, again sparking rampant speculation that the deal was quietly in the works.
What does this mean: A last minute deal means that the closely watched case is effectively over and no trial will proceed. By settling with Dominion, influential Fox News executives and prominent on-air personalities will be exempt from testifying about their coverage of the 2020 election, which was riddled with lies about voter fraud.
Details of the settlement were not immediately available and may not be published at all.
More on the case: In the lawsuit, Dominion sought $1.6 billion in damages from Fox News. The right-wing network argued vociferously in pretrial proceedings that that number was exaggerated and didn’t come close to accurately capturing the potential losses Dominion could have suffered as a result of Fox’s 2020 broadcast.
Fox News and Fox Corporation — its parent company, which was also a defendant — say they never defamed Dominion, and say the case is a baseless assault on press freedoms. They denied Dominion’s claim that they promoted these election plots to salvage their declining ratings after the 2020 election.
While the Dominion case is now over, Fox News still faces a second major defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic, another voting technology company that was defamed on Fox programming after the 2020 election. This case is still in the process of being discovered, and no trial is expected anytime soon.