UPDATE 1-Fox, Dominion lawyers spar over top executives’ liability in defamation suit

Legal Battle Between Fox Corp and Dominion Voting Systems Heats Up

In a courtroom showdown on Wednesday, lawyers representing Fox Corp and Dominion Voting Systems clashed over whether top FOX executives, including Chairman Rupert Murdoch, should be held liable in Dominion’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit. The lawsuit stems from claims aired by Fox News alleging that Dominion was involved in vote-rigging during the 2020 U.S. election.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis presided over a two-day hearing where both sides argued for elements of the case to be decided in their favor without proceeding to a full trial. Dominion has accused Fox of damaging its business by broadcasting false claims that its voting machines were used to manipulate the election results in favor of Joe Biden over Donald Trump. Dominion contends that the responsibility for these claims extends to the highest levels of Fox leadership.

Fox’s legal team refuted these allegations during the hearing, asserting that executives like Murdoch were not directly involved in the defamatory statements made on air by Trump lawyers. They argued that the burden of proof lies in demonstrating direct involvement in the publication of false information.

On the other hand, Dominion’s lawyer, Justin Nelson, presented evidence gathered during the discovery phase, including emails, to support their claim that top Fox executives were aware of the falsehoods but chose to air them for the sake of ratings. Nelson characterized the case as a decision by Murdoch to repeatedly allow the dissemination of lies on Fox News.

The lawsuit, scheduled to commence on April 17, has attracted significant attention as it pits the conservative-leaning Fox News against Dominion, a voting technology company seeking retribution for the alleged harm caused by Fox’s coverage. Dominion maintains that Fox knowingly propagated false information or acted recklessly without regard for the truth, meeting the legal standard of “actual malice” required in defamation cases.

Both parties have requested summary judgment from the judge, seeking a ruling in their favor before a jury trial. Fox’s legal team has cited the “neutral reportage” doctrine, which shields the press from liability when reporting newsworthy allegations in a neutral manner.

With the trial looming, the outcome of this high-profile defamation case could have far-reaching implications for the media landscape in the United States.

(Reporting by Jack Queen in Wilmington and Helen Coster in New York; Editing by Will Dunham)

Original Story at ca.movies.yahoo.com – 2024-04-22 07:00:00

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