Some uncertainty remained about who at Fox had authorized specific shows and what those people knew or believed at the time, Davis continued.
“The Court does not consider the evidence to determine who may have been responsible for the publication and whether these individuals acted with actual malice – these are genuine questions of material fact and must therefore be decided by a jury,” wrote the judge in his 81-page decision.
Fox reacted to the decision by insisting that the company upholds the principles of free speech.
“This case is and always has been about First Amendment protections of the media’s absolute right to cover the news. Fox will continue to fiercely defend the rights to free speech and a free press as we enter the next phase of these proceedings,” the company said.
A Dominion spokesperson praised Davis’ decision. “We are pleased with the Court’s thorough ruling which has soundly rejected all of Fox’s arguments and defenses, and found in law that their statements regarding Dominion are false. We look forward to going to trial,” the firm said.
Davis has set jury selection for April 13 and the start of the trial for April 17 in Delaware Superior Court in Wilmington, assuming the parties fail to reach a financial settlement in the meantime.
The trial is expected to feature testimony from Fox personalities including Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and others. Pre-trial litigation has already revealed documents showing that hosts and presenters did not believe many of the charges against their programs and that, following President Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 race, the company was desperate for ways to keep its Trump-supporting viewers from defecting to rivals like Newsmax and One America News.
Domination filed the complaint in 2021claiming that Fox has seriously damaged the reputation of the polling company by repeatedly airing false accusations about it, even after receiving details of the inaccuracies.
In recent court filings, Fox lawyers argued that the network does not endorse claims by Trump and allies like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, but merely forwards newsworthy statements made by prominent figures. public. The judge rejected these arguments.
“Fox devotes little to his falsity argument. He asserts that ”
Davis also said Fox reports and interviews often aired the claims without rebuttal or context, further undermining the network’s arguments.
“The evidence does not prove that FNN conducted good faith and disinterested reporting…. FNN’s failure to uncover much conflicting evidence from the public sphere and Dominion itself indicates that its reporting was not disinterested,” wrote the judge.