On Monday, October 16, 2023, CNN Business reported that Fox Corporation’s chief legal and policy officer, Viet Dinh, has criticized the judge who oversaw the election defamation case against Dominion Voting Systems, saying that the judge’s “illogical” rulings “hamstrung” Fox’s defense strategy and undermined the “fairness and integrity” of the legal system. Dinh made the comments at a Harvard Law School event, where he blasted Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis for his handling of the case.
The historic settlement, which resulted in Fox paying $787 million to Dominion, ended the case, but Dinh expressed confidence that Fox would have prevailed on appeal. He claimed that Davis issued “really illogical” rulings in the pretrial phase, which hurt Fox’s defense, and that the judge’s decisions meant the trial would have been “three to four months of utter pain” for Fox and its employees. Therefore, it was a “business decision” to settle the case at the last second.
Dinh took issue with how Davis handled the discovery process, arguing that at least half of the materials Fox was forced to produce were “completely irrelevant to the case.” This led to Fox employees’ private emails being “exposed to the world” and pored over by “navel-gazing” journalists who wanted to “feed the gossip beast.” Dinh stated, “The court lost control of the media circus, to our detriment.”
Davis ruled that none of Fox’s on-air statements about Dominion were true and rejected Fox’s attempts to throw the case out. He also decided that Fox couldn’t argue to the jury that it gave airtime to these election lies because they were “newsworthy.” Private communications revealed that Fox executives, on-air hosts, producers, and internal fact-checkers did not believe the 2020 election conspiracy theories that were being promoted on their channel. Embarrassing revelations included a text from ex-Fox News star Tucker Carlson saying that he “passionately” hated former President Donald Trump.
The Delaware Superior Court declined to comment on Dinh’s remarks. Fox is still fighting a separate defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic, another voting machine company that was accused of rigging the 2020 election and is seeking more than $2 billion in damages. That case is still in the discovery phase.
Source: CNN Business