April 18, 2023 -WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Fox News agreed Tuesday to pay Dominion Voting Systems nearly $800 million to avert a trial in the voting machine company’s lawsuit that would have exposed how the network promoted lies about the 2020 presidential election.
The stunning settlement emerged just as opening statements were supposed to begin, abruptly ending a case that had embarrassed Fox News over several months and raised the possibility that network founder Rupert Murdoch and stars such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity would have to testify publicly.
“The truth matters. Lies have consequences,” Dominion lawyer Justin Nelson told reporters outside a Delaware courthouse after Superior Court Judge Eric Davis announced the deal.
Outside of the $787.5 million promised to Colorado-based Dominion, it was unclear what other consequences Fox would face. Fox acknowledged in a statement “the court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false,” but no apology was offered.
“We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues,” Fox said. Its lawyers and representatives offered no other comment or details about the settlement.
Asked by a reporter whether there was “anything to this other than money,” Dominion CEO John Poulos did not answer.
The deal is a significant amount of money even for a company the size of Fox. It represents about one-quarter of the $2.96 billion the company reported earning last year before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — a figure often used to approximate a company’s cash flow.