Fox News reaches settlement with Venezuelan businessman in election defamation case
Fox News has settled a defamation lawsuit from a Venezuelan businessman who had accused the network of making false claims about him and the 2020 election, attorneys for the man and Fox News said Saturday in a court filing.
The details of the settlement were not made public.
“This matter has been resolved amicably by both sides,” a Fox News spokesperson said Sunday, declining further comment.
Following the 2020 election, former Fox Business host Lou Dobbs had accused the businessman, Majed Khalil, of playing a key role in supposedly rigging the election against Donald Trump.
In a tweet calling the 2020 election a “cyber Pearl Harbor,” Dobbs named Khalil as one of four people he wanted his audience to “get familiar with” for committing supposed election fraud.
Fox News still faces a monster $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems, which is set to go to trial in just days.
Jury selection for the trial begins Thursday and opening statements are scheduled for April 17, unless the two sides reach a settlement before then.
Dominion had sued Fox News for defamation, and says it was defamed by the right-wing network when Fox hosts and guests claimed in 2020 that its voting systems illegally rigged the election against Trump.
Fox News has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, maintained it is “proud” of its 2020 election coverage, and argued that Dominion’s lawsuit represents a threat to the First Amendment.
While Fox’s legal liability will be decided at trial, the case has already battered Fox’s reputation.
Incriminating texts and emails have shown how Fox executives, hosts and producers didn’t believe the claims the network was peddling about Dominion.
The lawsuit is seen as one of the most consequential defamation cases in recent memory.
Fox has argued that a loss will eviscerate press freedoms, and many scholars agree that the bar should remain high to prove defamation.
Other analysts have said holding Fox accountable for knowingly airing lies won’t pose a threat to objective journalists who would never do that in the first place.