The high-profile civil trial in the defamation suit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News is now slated to get underway on Tuesday amid a report that the cable giant was seeking a settlement.
The proceedings had been scheduled to begin on Monday before Superior Court Judge Eric Davis with the jury seated and intial arguments getting underway. The trial is expected to generate national and international attention. Davis issued a seven page order on decorum in the courtroom for the media and others.
The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reported that lawyers for Fox were attempting to reach a settlement in the case with Dominion. The Journal is owned by the Murdoch family, which controls Fox New However, the Journal has continued to cover the case while Fox News has largely ignored it.
Earlier Fox was sanctioned by Davs failing to disclose information that included Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch serving as an officer of the company.
Despite speculation that Fox would settle with Dominion before going to trial, there had been no signs of late of a change of heart. Dominion, even if it won the case would face appeals from Fox that could go as high as the U.S. Supreme Court.
In keeping with Delaware policies Internet access will not be allowed in the courtroom with cameras and video prohibited. In an unprecedented decision, an audio line will be offered by phone but cannot be recorded.
Dominion alleges that Fox acted with reckless disregard by having guests on its shows air false claims that Dominion was involved in efforts to swing the election in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden, who defeated incumbent Donald Trump. Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion from the cable news network and its parent company.
The jury will be asked to determine whether Fox acted with malice, generally the only grounds for a jury ruling in favor of a plantiff in libel cases.
Lawyers for the cable network have argued that its actions are protected by the First Amendment, even though network hosts and executives dismissed the claims in Emails obtained in the discovery process. Fox lawyers had failed in attempts to dismiss the case that Dominion took to Delaware.
Davis has narrrowed the scope of the trial and denied a request by Dominion’s lawyers to attempt to tie claims of a stolen election to the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.