Dominion Voting Systems Defamation Trial Against Fox News Begins Today

The voting technology firm is suing Fox News for defamation after it aired allegations of election fraud in 2020. The case is the first of its kind.

What’s happening? The trial between Dominion Voting Systems and Fox News will kick off in Delaware's Superior Court today. After the 2020 presidential election, then-President Donald Trump and his allies claimed election irregularities lead to Joe Biden’s victory and blamed Dominion for “manipulating vote counts” in Biden’s favor. Dominion is suing Fox for defamation for their coverage of the controversy.

Catch up: In February, messages and testimony revealed that Fox hosts privately expressed hesitancy or outright disbelief about the election fraud claims they were reporting on. Notably, host Tucker Carlson publicly refused to cover some of the claims he was dubious of. Still, the messages provide Dominion with significant ammunition in their case against Fox. In March, a judge ruled that Fox’s statements about Dominion manipulating vote counts were false.

Both sides: Dominion must prove to the jury that Fox either aired the information despite knowing it was false or acted with reckless disregard for the truth. Dominion alleges Fox “deeply damaged” its business, leading it to lose government contracts, and is seeking $1.6 billion in damages. Fox doesn’t dispute having aired false information but says $1.6 billion is a “wildly inflated” figure. It claims Dominion’s financial position is solid and that its profits were unaffected by the network’s broadcasting.

Between the lines: The claims of election fraud in 2020 deserved investigation and scrutiny. At the time, it was known that the irregular election spikes were real and that years prior, even Democrats like Elizabeth Warren were concerned that Dominion Voting Systems were prone to fraud. But left-leaning outlets avoided looking into the claims entirely. And while some Fox hosts like Carlson were hesitant to report on the claims due to a lack of evidence, others like Lou Dobbs echoed the claims and their veracity without question. But if Dominion receives its $1.6 billion in damages, it could chill reporting on controversial topics.