Dominion’s Defamation Lawsuit Against Fox — Including Murdochs — Over 2020 Election Can Move Forward, Judge Rules

Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox Corporation will move forward—though its claims against a Fox subsidiary will not—a state judge in Delaware ruled Tuesday, after the voting machine company alleged Fox executives including Rupert Murdoch and son Lachlan led Fox News’ effort to push baseless election fraud claims involving Dominion machines despite allegedly knowing they were false.

Delaware state Judge Eric M. Davis denied Fox Corporation’s motion to dismiss Dominion’s defamation suit against it, though he did dismiss separate claims against Fox Broadcasting Company and fraud allegations published on Fox.com, saying Dominion’s allegations against it were insufficient.

Dominion sued Fox Corporation and Fox Broadcasting in November 2021, alleging top Fox executives—namely the Murdochs—“exerted direct control over Fox News’ programming decisions” in the aftermath of the 2020 election and thus were responsible for the network’s false fraud claims involving Dominion machines.

Davis ruled Dominion had adequately alleged defamation well enough for the case to move forward, finding there’s a “reasonable inference” that Fox Corporation “participated in the creation and publication of Fox News’ defamatory statements” and helped “cause” the alleged defamation.

The judge also ruled there’s a “reasonable inference” that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch specifically knew the fraud claims about Dominion were false but pushed them anyway—which would be “actual malice” that could constitute defamation—citing reporting suggesting Rupert Murdoch did not believe the fraud claims and pieces in other Murdoch-owned newspapers that condemned President Donald Trump’s fraud allegations.

Davis has previously allowed a separate Dominion lawsuit against Fox News to move forward, but Fox tried to shield Fox Corporation and the Murdochs as part of that lawsuit and refused to turn over documents from them, leading Dominion to file a second lawsuit against the parent company.

Fox Corporation has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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