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Fox News Network settled a defamation lawsuit filed against the legacy media outlet and former Fox Business host Lou Dobbs by a Venezuelan businessman over a broadcast and related social media activity involving him and voting software companies during the 2020 presidential election.
Majed Khalil sued the Fox Corporation, Fox News Network LLC, Lou Dobbs, and attorney Sidney Powell in a complaint filed in New York federal court in 2021.
Law and Crime observed the complaint, which alleged the defendants accused Khalil and three others of working with Dominion and Smartmatic to “rig or fix the results” of the election in favor of President Joe Biden during a December 10, 2020, broadcast and related Twitter posts.
“Here, Defendants repeatedly maintained their claims about Khalil long after Powell’s election fraud theories were challenged,” his 26-page opinion and order states. “Numerous reports that declared the falsity of the claims against Dominion and Smartmatic and rejected Powell as an accurate source of information gave Defendants reasons to doubt Powell’s veracity and the accuracy of her reports. While the complaint does not allege that the Khalil himself informed Defendants of the falsity of the claims against him, both Smartmatic and Dominion did so. Falsity of the claims against both companies would necessitate falsity of the claims against Plaintiff. Several government agencies stated that there was no evidence of fraud in the election, and even then-President Trump supporters rejected Powell’s accusations.”
Fox attorney K. Winn Allen wrote in a Saturday letter to Stanton co-signed by Khalil attorney Sigmund S. Wissner-Gross reported by Law and Crime that the parties anticipate filing a joint stipulation of dismissal with prejudice early next week.
“The parties are pleased to jointly inform the Court that they have reached a confidential agreement to resolve this matter,” Allen said.
The claims against Powell were dismissed, while a judge last fall denied the news outlet and Dobbs’ attempts on First Amendment grounds, claiming that they engaged in fair and neutral reporting.
“The 2020 Election is a cyber Pearl Harbor: The leftwing establishment have aligned their forces to overthrow the United States government,” Dobbs wrote in a December 10 post on Twitter.
The 2020 Election is a cyber Pearl Harbor:
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) December 10, 2020
Fox canceled Dobbs’ show in February 2021.
Fox also faces a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems over similar claims surrounding the 2020 presidential election.
Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis denied granting summary judgment to Fox News in its attempt to get the voting software company’s lawsuit tossed on Friday, which now goes to trial in April.
“The evidence developed in this civil proceeding demonstrates that is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true,” Davis wrote in his ruling reported by NBC.
Network officials argued that the opinions were protected under the Constitution, but Davis disagreed, saying such statements were either fact or mixed opinion.
Fox News argued that the challenged comments were opinions and protected. Still, Davis disagreed, saying the statements “were capable of being proven true and, in fact, the evidence that would prove the statements was discussed many times but never presented.”
“We are gratified by the Court’s thorough ruling soundly rejecting all of Fox’s arguments and defenses, and finding as a matter of law that their statements about Dominion are false,” a spokesperson for Dominion said in a statement to NBC. “We look forward to going to trial.”
A Fox News spokesperson told NBC in a satement that the case involves the First Amendment protections of the media’s absolute right to cover the news.
“FOX will continue to fiercely advocate for the rights of free speech and a free press as we move into the next phase of these proceedings,” the spokesperson said.