Fox-Dominion defamation trial to start Tuesday after delay, judge says

The Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News will go to trial after being delayed by one day, a judge said.

Fox-Dominion defamation trial to start Tuesday after delay, judge says

On July 21, 2020, a political display was posted outside the Fox News Headquarters on 6th Avenue.

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The judge in the case announced Monday that the $1.6 billion civil defamation suit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News would be tried on Tuesday, after being postponed one day.

In a short hearing at Delaware Superior Court on Monday, Judge Eric Davis announced that he had decided to delay the jury-selection process and the beginning of the opening statements. The news of the delay was announced Sunday night just hours before the trial had been scheduled to start.

The judge gave little explanation as to why the hearing was postponed. Davis said to a courtroom crowded with mostly journalists, "This isn't a press release. I don’t do that."

He assured the court, however, that this scheduling change was not "unusual," noting that it had never been a case that lasted more than two weeks that did not experience a delay.

The trial will last six weeks.

Dominion, a company that sells voting equipment and election software claimed Fox Corp., and its cable television networks, had defamed it after Fox broadcasted false claims about the company rigging the 2020 elections against the former President Donald Trump.

Fox has claimed that Dominion did not meet the legal standard of defamation and that statements made by Dominion in its airwaves were protected under the First Amendment.

Some news outlets reported that Fox and Dominion were meeting to discuss possible settlements. Fox and Dominion spokespeople have not made any statements regarding the possibility of settlement discussions.

Most defamation suits are settled out of court. Even as recently as last Saturday, it seemed unlikely that Dominion or Fox would avoid trial. In the next few weeks, we'll prove that Fox spread lies and caused enormous damage to Dominion. "We look forward to the trial," said a Dominion spokesperson on CNBC Saturday morning.

Fox and Dominion argued over the amount of money at stake on the eve before the trial, one of the most expensive defamation suits in recent years.

Fox announced shortly before the hearing on Monday morning that Dominion would be reducing its damage claim by hundreds millions of dollars.

Fox shared in a court document a screenshot from an email sent by Dominion lawyer Brian Farnan on Friday, which stated that Dominion would not "present its claim for damages due to lost profits before the jury because it is duplicate of the damages due to lost enterprise value."

In its original complaint, Dominion had requested that the court award damages in the amount of $600 million to compensate the company for the profits it allegedly lost due to the lies spread about the company on Fox's broadcast.

Fox stated that Farnan’s email showed Dominion would instead be pursuing their billion-dollar claim of "lost value enterprise" damages.

Dominion pushed back quickly, reaffirming its $1.6 billion claim of damages.

A spokesperson for Dominion told CNBC in the morning of Monday that "the damages claim is still valid." "As Fox knows well, our damages are in excess of $1.6 billion."