Dominion Lawyer Explains Why Company Settled With Fox News

“Of course we would have liked to have seen the hosts take the stand,” Justin Nelson said. “But at the end of the day what we really cared about was that accountability."

The lead attorney for Dominion Voting Systems on Tuesday spoke about the company’s decision to enter into an eleventh-hour settlement with Fox News in the widely anticipated defamation suit involving some of the right-wing network’s 2020 election coverage.

Justin Nelson said while Dominion felt vindicated to have held Fox News accountable for its lies, the $787.5 million settlement also felt “bittersweet.”

In a statement, the network also acknowledged “the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false.”

The lawsuit centered on baseless claims that Dominion used its voting equipment to somehow switch votes from former President Donald Trump to Joe Biden, thus interfering with the 2020 election result. Dominion claims that Fox News’ broadcast of those falsehoods resulted in threats against its employees, and lost profits.

But the settlement doesn’t appear to require Fox News hosts to tell their viewers about those lies on the air.

The agreement also means prominent hosts, like Tucker Carlson, and high-profile people at the network, including Fox founder Rupert Murdoch, won’t publicly testify, thus avoiding what was likely to be an embarrassing spectacle.

“Of course we would have liked to have seen the hosts take the stand, and others,” Nelson told MSNBC’s “The ReidOut.” “But at the end of the day what we really cared about was that accountability, and today we think we achieved it.”

Asked about the potential missed opportunity of having Fox News tell its viewers on its air about the lies it spread, Nelson said ultimately: “You can’t hide from paying nearly 800 million dollars, and having that in a public settlement.”

“The civil litigation system can only do so much,” Nelson continued.

Nelson said the company was successful in the goals it set out for this legal challenge: getting that accountability and some recompense for the harm the company suffered by Fox’s lies.

Dominion CEO John Poulos on Wednesday addressed the timing of the agreement, telling ABC’s “Good Morning America” his company wasn’t prepared to settle “until all of the facts that we had discovered had come to light.”

Asked if he thinks Fox will stop airing lies following the settlement, Poulos replied: “I certainly hope so.”

“I think that it’s a big step forward in democracy if our system can send a signal that if media companies lie ― whoever they are, on whatever channel it is ― and they do so knowingly, they will be prepared to pay a very, very high price,” Poulos added.

Court filings in recent months also appeared damaging for Fox News, disclosing that senior network executives, including Murdoch himself, expressed doubt about Trump’s claims of election fraud.

Nelson added that this is not the end of the road for Dominion as it has six additional lawsuits against Fox that it is currently pursuing.

“We’re not going to stop here,” he said.

Fox News is also facing a separate $2.7 billion lawsuit from Smartmatic USA Corp.

Popular in the Community