The judge has reportedly asked the parties to make one last effort to settle the case before moving ahead with the trial that had been scheduled to start today.
From The Washington Post:
The beginning of the much-anticipated defamation case between Dominion Voting Systems and Fox News has been delayed by one day, until Tuesday, to allow both parties to hold conversations about the possibility of a settlement, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.
One of the people said the judge had asked the parties to make a final effort to settle the issue before proceeding with a trial.
Fox and Dominion engaged in a round of mediation in December 2022 but were unable to reach a settlement agreement at that time, the court has previously said.
How likely is the case to settle? That probably depends on how desperate Fox is. The Washington Post also reported, “Dominion officials have insisted they would not settle without a full-throated apology and acknowledgment from Fox that it aired false information — a position that could put the network at odds with many viewers and Trump, who is again running for president.”
Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe said that if he were representing Dominion, he’d probably advise them not to settle. “This is a case where there is no reason to settle because there is no defense for Fox or Fox corporation, for that matter,” he said.
You can watch Professor Tribe discuss the strength of Dominion’s case below, from MSNBC’s March 30, 2023 Deadline: White House, via Media Matters. Note that the segment aired before the summary judgment motions were decided.
The trick is, will Fox be willing to make that public and humiliating apology? Possibly. But the usual resort of angry Right Wingers is to double down and refuse to admit it’s raining even when they are sitting in the middle of a deluge. (Back when Trump was embarrassed by President Obama proving that Trump lied about the birth certificate nonsense, unrepentant bigot Rush Limbaugh tantrumed with “Donald Trump doesn’t eat crow! He eats OTHER PEOPLE’S LUNCH!!!”)
There’s also the factor that Dominion is winning the PR element of this discussion in the media. Fox repeatedly comes out with egg on its face and Dominion repeatedly is shown to be a solid company understandably fighting back after being defamed by Fox. I would not be surprised to learn that Dominion has actually been gaining business contracts and making more money due to their steadfastness here.
That said, it is still possible for this matter to end at any time. I just don’t think Dominion lets Fox off without that apology and most angry Right Wingers I’ve encountered are incapable of apologizing.
1. Dominion is owned by a group of investors. So as much as we want them to fight Fox to the end, a big check and a big Dominion-centric apology, clarification, etc. may be enough for them.
2. Jury selection was supposed to conclude Monday with opening statements to begin immediately thereafter. If the trial goes forward tomorrow, opening statements will probably begin.
5. A settlement could happen at any point. The New York Times writes: people directly involved in the case said they did not expect the parties to settle. Lawyers for Dominion Voting Systems, which brought the suit against Fox, were filing requests with the court on Monday morning, an indication that they expected the case to go to trial on Tuesday.
At the same time, both sides have some incentive to reach a deal. Fox may want to avoid a trial in which more embarrassing or damaging details about its operations could emerge. And Dominion may want to secure some financial payment, and avoid fighting years of appeals that would probably take place if it won the jury trial.
We should keep in mind that even after Fox loses this case, they will appeal it for years to come. And even if they are required to pay 1.6 billion plus another 5 billion in damages, that amount doesn’t even approach the money they bring in each year. To Fox, this would be played as them being “persecuted” for “telling the truth” rather than being held accountable for constant lying and rumor-mongering to angry Right Wingers.
The one interesting area to watch will be the compelled testimony under oath by various Fox personalities, who won’t be able to refuse to answer questions unless they’re going to take the 5th, like most Pence White House cronies normally do.
I’m soooooo fed up with the shenanigans not only of Fox(not)News but also of RWingers in general and Trump faithful in particular. No awareness of the true significance of what they say and do, nor any willingness to reflect on the disconnect between what they say and do and the values they profess to share both with Christ and the Founders of America. A total lack of awareness of the hypocrisy of their words and acts. No shame. Wilful hypocrisy. Their undeniable desire to throw women back into the days of being baby-makers, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Once that’s done, they’ll turn their attention to the rehabilitation of slavery and the criminalisation of gay folks. As I wrote above, I’m soooooooo fed up with trying to explain all that silliness to Europeans.