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Dominion-Fox News updates: Settlement reached for $787.5 million

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(NEW YORK) — Dominion Voting Systems, in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit, has accused Fox News of knowingly pushing false conspiracy theories that the voting machine company rigged the 2020 presidential election in Joe Biden’s favor, in what Dominion claims was an effort to combat concerns over declining ratings and viewer retention. Fox has defended its coverage, dismissing the suit as a “political crusade in search of a financial windfall.”

Here’s how the news developed. All times Eastern:

Apr 18, 4:55 PM EDT
Fox has ‘admitted telling lies,’ says Dominion CEO

“Fox has admitted to telling lies about Dominion,” Dominion CEO John Poulos said outside the courthouse following the announcement of a settlement. It was not immediately clear where this admission took place, beyond Fox’s statement that “We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false” — or whether Fox News had agreed to a more formal acknowledgement in a public way.

And at the end of the press conference, Davinda Cook, another lawyer for Dominion, might have teased potential future actions when she told reporters, “Thank you … to help expose what we were able to discover over the course of this process.”

“Thank you, and we’ll see you at the next one,” she said.

– ABC’s Lucien Bruggeman

Apr 18, 4:37 PM EDT
Fox to pay $787.5 million in settlement

“Truth matters. Lies have consequences,” said Justin Nelson, an attorney for Dominion Voting Systems, as he announced details of the company’s settlement with Fox News during a press conference following the court’s adjournment.

“Today’s settlement of $787,500,000 represents vindication and accountability,” Nelson said. “Today represents a ringing endorsement for truth and for democracy.”

Dominion had sued Fox for $1.6 billion.

The CEO of Dominion, John Poulos, called it an “historic settlement.”

“Throughout this process, we have sought accountability,” Poulos said. “Truthful reporting in the media is essential to democracy.”

Apr 18, 4:20 PM EDT
Fox News ‘pleased’ with settlement

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems,” Fox News officials said in a statement after an agreement had been reached. “We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects FOX’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards.”

“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,” the statement said.

Apr 18, 4:11 PM EDT
Settlement reached between Dominion, Fox News

A settlement has been reached in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News, Judge Eric Davis has announced in the courtroom.

“The parties have resolved their case,” the judge said.

“We wish to express our deepest appreciation” to the court, a Dominion attorney told the judge.

Davis commended both teams, saying, “I’ve been on the bench since 2010 … and I think this is the best lawyering I’ve had, ever.”

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed before court was adjourned.

A press conference was expected to follow.

Apr 18, 3:22 PM EDT
Opening statements delayed

Opening statements were scheduled to get underway at 1:30 p.m. ET, but have yet to begin.

No word has been provided regarding the cause of the delay.

Neither Judge Eric Davis nor the jury are in the courtroom during the delay.                                                       

Apr 18, 1:34 PM EDT
Judge authorizes special master over potential ‘discovery issues’

After sanctioning Fox News last week for a delay in turning over evidence, Judge Eric Davis has now officially authorized a special master to investigate Fox News’ potential “discovery issues,” according to a new order from the judge.

The order comes just before opening arguments in the case are scheduled to begin.

According to the order, the investigation by the special master will “include a determination” of whether Fox News and Fox Corp “complied with their discovery obligations.”

The special master, who was previously appointed to oversee discovery in the case, is now “further authorized and empowered” to look into multiple declarations made by Fox attorneys in the case, the order says.

Apr 18, 11:40 AM EDT
You aren’t ‘Dick Tracy,’ judge tells jurors

In his initial instructions to the jury, Judge Eric Davis told jurors not to talk amongst themselves or discuss the case with family or friends.

“You have to fight human nature. This is the hardest thing you’ll have to do during the trial,” Davis said. “You have to refrain from talking about the case with your fellow jurors or a third party.”

The judge also reminded the jurors that they are not Dick Tracy.

“Do not do any detective work,” he said. “You cannot do any independent research about this case.”

Davis told jurors they can bring water or some other beverage into the courtroom, provided it has a cap or lid.

“You can bring some type of drink,” Davis said, jokingly adding, “non-alcoholic.”

The trial is expected to last about six weeks.

Apr 18, 11:30 AM EDT
Jury is seated

A jury has been seated to hear the defamation accusations against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems.

The jury is made up of six women and six men who were previously asked about their Fox News viewing habits. Six women and six men were also seated as alternates.

The jurors will remain anonymous for the duration of the trial. Judge Eric Davis had expressed concern about possible jury tampering amid the international attention on the case.

Immediately after the jurors were sworn in, alternate juror No. 3 raised his hand from his seat and told the judge, “Sir I can’t do this. I’ve been up all night. I can’t do this.”

Judge Davis offered to talk with the man off the bench and, ultimately, opted to dismiss him from service.

“I’ve excused alternate No. 3 and we will swear in a new No. 3,” Davis said.

Apr 18, 9:30 AM EDT
Jury selection underway

Jury selection is underway Tuesday morning at Delaware Superior Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

The jury is expected to be seated by the end of the morning, with opening statements expected to begin shortly thereafter, according to the judge in the case.

Apr 17, 10:42 AM EDT
Judge says trial will proceed Tuesday

The judge overseeing Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News said Monday morning that the trial will proceed Tuesday, saying a delay like this “is not unusual.”

Judge Eric Davis’ remarks in court Monday morning came after an [eleventh-hour delay]} in the case was announced Sunday night before the trial was set to begin Monday morning.

The Wall Street Journal — a publication owned by Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch — reported Sunday night that Fox had made a “late push to settle the dispute out of court,” according to “people familiar with the decision.”

Judge Davis made no mention of potential settlement talks Monday morning.

“It’s a six-week trial, things happen,” he said.

Apr 18, 9:30 AM EDT
Jury selection underway

Jury selection is underway Tuesday morning at Delaware Superior Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

The jury is expected to be seated by the end of the morning, with opening statements expected to begin shortly thereafter, according to the judge in the case.

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