60 Minutes’ deep dive into Dominion Voting System’s $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News and its parent company was very, very damning to the Murdochs’ network.
Anderson Cooper, the segment’s host, said that Fox’s attacks on Dominion began five days after the 2020 presidential election. No evidence of fraud or malfeasance was ever provided, Cooper noted, “But that didn't stop pro-Trump attorneys from making baseless claims or conservative news networks from giving them plenty of airtime.”
“Dominion has filed eight lawsuits seeking more than $10 billion in damages against Fox News and other networks, corporations and individuals,” Cooper said. Smartmatic, another voting technology company, is also suing Fox, for $2.7 billion.
Cooper also interviewed Dominion’s CEO, John Poulos. What he said could make you weep for him, his employees and the state of our country.
POULOS: Anderson, my kids still are not allowed to get any package from the front door, until we verify that it`s actually from a trusted sender.
COOPER: You're that concerned about somebody sending something to your house?
POULOS: It's not unfounded concern.
COOPER: People have done that?
POULOS: People have done this. People are warning that they will continue to do this.
We also heard harrowing voicemail threats, including one saying “We're going to blow your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) building up.” Poulos said the threats continue regularly. A week before, the office was on lockdown, he said. Two days before that, an employee received “a very disgusting death threat in detail.”
Poulos walked viewers through Dominion’s processes and security measures, which seemed pretty darned reliable and secure. Cooper also reported, “Recounts and audits in the swing states of Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nevada all confirmed Dominion's results. More than 60 lawsuits around the country challenging the election by Trump or his supporters were ultimately withdrawn or failed.”
POULOS: People have been put into danger. Their families have been put into danger. Their lives have been upended and all because of lies. It was a very clear calculation that they knew they were lies. And they were repeating them and endorsing them.
COOPER: It's important to you people admit what they said was wrong?
POULOS: It's important to me. It's important to all the people whose families have been impacted by this.
That last part could be why the case has advanced so far without settling. In July, when a veteran legal correspondent predicted the case would settle, with insurance bearing the costs, I questioned whether Dominion would be willing to settle without some kind of major admission of wrongdoing by Fox. I hope Poulos et al. remain steadfast in that demand.
Poulos said that proving Fox lied and knew that it lied about Dominion is “the easiest part’ of the lawsuit. (Presumably, proving monetary damages is harder.)
Cooper said Dominion began alerting Fox of the false allegations being made against it beginning on November 12, 2020, four days after Fox host Maria Bartiromo and Trump attorney Sidney Powell first accused Dominion of “voting irregularities” and “flipping votes.” Fox continued to promote those dangerous falsehoods and has yet to retract them.
POULOS: We told them. We told them in real time. Others told them. Government officials told them. Partisan government officials told them. People inside the Trump administration told them. Local election officials on both sides of the aisle told them. This is not a matter of not knowing the truth. They knew the truth.
Retired lawyer and First Amendment expert Lee Levine said defamation cases are hard to prove because “You need to show, basically, that the defendant published or broadcast a deliberate lie, a calculated falsehood.” But he called Dominion’s case against Fox “much stronger than most defamation cases that I have seen.” Levine added, “I might say it is the strongest.
Levine said he has personally litigated “hundreds” of defamation cases and is “aware of every significant defamation case in the last 40 years.”
COOPER: And this is the strongest one?
LEVINE: In my judgment.
Watch the report below, from the October 23, 2022 60 Minutes.