Those bogus assertions — made day after day, including allegations that Dominion was a front for the communist government in Venezuela and that its voting machines could switch votes from one candidate to another — are at the center of the libel suit, one of the most extraordinary brought against an American media company in more than a generation.
First Amendment scholars say the case is a rarity in libel law. Defamation claims typically involve a single disputed statement. But Dominion’s complaint is replete with example after example of false statements, many of them made after the facts were widely known. And such suits are often quickly dismissed, because of the First Amendment’s broad free speech protections and the high-powered lawyers available to a major media company like Fox. If they do go forward, they are usually settled out of court to spare both sides the costly spectacle of a trial.
But Dominion’s $1.6 billion case against Fox has been steadily progressing in Delaware state court this summer, inching ever closer to trial. There have been no moves from either side toward a settlement, according to interviews with several people involved in the case. The two companies are deep into document discovery, combing through years of each other’s emails and text messages, and taking depositions.