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Fox says Dominion knocked millions off damages claim

Dominion disputed Fox's characterization, saying it has not reduced its $1.6 billion claim. The start of the defamation trial was delayed to Tuesday, fueling settlement speculation.
People walk passed the News Corp building
People walk past the News Corp. building in New Yor on March 20, 2019.Kevin Hagen / Getty Images file

WILMINGTON, Del. — Fox News said in a court filing Sunday that Dominion Voting Systems knocked "more than a half a billion dollars off" its original damages claim just as trial proceedings were scheduled to get underway.

The filing — a request to the court for clarification about evidence the network can present to the jury related to the question of damages — said Dominion had informed Fox it was “walking away from lost profit damages and will pursue only 'lost enterprise value' damages."

A Fox spokesperson said in a statement Monday, “FOX has made clear that Dominion’s damages are wildly inflated which Dominion has now finally admitted at the 11th hour.”

Dominion disputed that, saying it has not reduced its claim. The company sued in 2021, arguing that Fox News defamed it by airing baseless conspiracies about its voting machines’ "rigging" the 2020 election against Donald Trump and seeking $1.6 billion in damages.

“The damages claim remains. As Fox well knows, our damages exceed $1.6 billion,” a Dominion spokesperson said Monday.

Fox's filing included an email from Dominion attorney Brian Farnan that said the Dominion legal team “will not be presenting its claim for lost profits damages to the jury, given that it is duplicative of the lost enterprise value damages.”

In an earlier Dominion complaint circulated by Fox, Dominion pegged lost profits at about $600 million and lost enterprise value at $1 billion. Dominion is also seeking lawyers fees, security costs and unspecified punitive damages to be set at trial.

Fox filed amid an unexpected delay in the trial's start.

On Sunday evening, just over 12 hours before potential jurors had been expected to report, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis said he was delaying the start of trial to 9 a.m. ET Tuesday.

“This is not a press conference. I don’t do that. … What I’m telling you is I made the decision to delay the start of the trial until tomorrow,” he said from the bench Monday morning.

Davis did not give a reason for the delay, which he said was common for such proceedings.

For months, Dominion and Fox News have held firm against a settlement, but the delay fueled speculation that more serious talks could be underway.

Dominion declined to comment on whether settlement talks were underway. Fox News did not respond for requests to comment about the delay.

The delay follows a bruising week for Fox News.

During pretrial conference hearings, Davis sanctioned Fox News and its lawyers for withholding evidence, admonished them for not being straightforward with him and said he was considering appointing a special master to investigate possible legal misconduct by the attorneys. He said he would allow Dominion to conduct an additional deposition with Fox News Executive Chair Rupert Murdoch at Fox’s expense.

Davis also ruled that Fox lawyers could not use newsworthiness as a legal defense, limiting the possible trial strategies.

Fox News also faces a $2.7 billion lawsuit from the voting company Smartmatic in a New York court. Last week, they settled a smaller suit brought by a Venezuelan businessman who was identified as a key player in the bogus stolen election claims.