Fox Corp has settled the defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million, avoiding a trial that would have put one of the world’s largest media firms in the spotlight for its coverage of fraudulent vote-rigging claims in the 2020 U.S. election.
The settlement was announced at the last minute with the case set to go to trial, and spares notable Fox News anchors from having to take the stand.
The court at Wilmington, Delaware, was ready for opening statements after the jury was selected earlier in the day. Dominion sued for $1.6 billion in 2021.
Dominion CEO John Poulos termed the deal “historic”.
“Fox has admitted to telling lies about Dominion that caused enormous damage to my company, our employees and our customers,” Poulos said.
“Truthful reporting in the media is essential to our democracy,” he added.
Fox was sued for falsely claiming that Denver-based Dominion’s ballot-counting devices rigged the presidential election in favor of Democrat Joe Biden over Republican Donald Trump.
Following the settlement announcement, Fox Corp shares fell 1% to $34. Fox has settlement funds. After beating projections, it bought $3 billion in shares in the first quarter. Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch told Wall Street analysts in February that the company has $4 billion cash.
Dominion lawyers declined to comment on whether Fox News will apologize or change.