Fox accuses Dominion of inflating its $1.6 billion damages figure
Wilmington, Delaware CNN —
Lawyers for Fox News on Wednesday accused Dominion Voting Systems of manipulating data to reach the eye-popping $1.6 billion figure that it’s seeking as part of its defamation lawsuit against the network.
At a pretrial hearing, Fox News lawyer Erin Murphy claimed Dominion is trying to have it both ways. First, she said Dominion was claiming that “nobody could have believed” the claims that it rigged the 2020 election – and therefore, Fox is liable for defamation, because it repeatedly promoted those blatantly false claims in late 2020. But then, when it was time to calculate damages for the lawsuit, “they say (they’re) going to go out of business because everybody believes this, and all of (their) customers believe this,” she said
“There’s a bit of cognitive dissonance,” Murphy said.
She went on to argue that Dominion’s calculations were dishonest, and accused the company of goosing the numbers by assuming that “they would’ve succeeded every single time in the future, every time they ever competed for business,” even though there’s no guarantee they’d get every deal they seek. In previous court filings, Dominion has said that its calculation are proper. The company hired experts to evaluate its books and lost business opportunities, and that’s how they reached the $1.6 billion figure.
“A huge chunk of their lost profits is coming from business that they haven’t actually lost,” she said.
The parties appeared in Delaware Superior Court for a second day of arguments regarding “summary judgment” after an all-day hearing on Tuesday ran long. Both sides essentially want Judge Eric Davis to decide the case in their favor now, averting a jury trial that is scheduled to begin next month. The judge will likely issue a written ruling at a future date.
Dominion filed a $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News and its parent company, Fox Corporation, claiming that they destroyed its reputation by promoting the lie that it rigged the 2020 election to stop Donald Trump from serving a second term. The Fox entities deny wrongdoing, say they’re “proud” of their 2020 election coverage, and claim the $1.6 billion figure is wildly inflated.
In previous court filings, Dominion has said that its calculation are proper. The company hired experts to evaluate its books and lost business opportunities, and that’s how they reached the $1.6 billion figure.
On Tuesday, Davis had tough questions for Fox’s lawyers and challenged some of their legal theories. He appeared to embrace some of Dominion’s arguments that specific Fox News personalities were embracing right-wing conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and weren’t acting as neutral journalists.
The hearing came weeks after hundreds of explosive emails and texts were made public as part of the case. These internal Fox News messages showed that many of the on-air personalities, producers, editors, executives and even corporate owners thought the allegations against Dominion were “nuts,” “kooky” and “BS” – but the network gave airtime to the theories anyway.
The court filings in this case have offered the most vivid picture to date of the chaos that transpired behind the scenes at Fox News after Trump lost the election. And viewers rebelled against the right-wing channel for accurately calling the contest in President Joe Biden’s favor.