(New York) The start of the trial of the American network Fox News, sued for defamation by an electronic voting machine company for its coverage of the 2020 presidential election, was delayed by one day on Monday, amid possible negotiations of the last chance with the complainant.
While the selection of the jury was not completed Monday in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware, the judge in charge of the case, Eric Davis, announced the postponement of the hearings the next day, according to several American media.
No reason was given, but according to the Wall Street Journal, owned like Fox News by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, “Fox pushed at the last moment to settle its dispute with Dominion Voting Systems,” the company who is claiming $1.6 billion in damages.
Asked by AFP, Fox News and the complainant did not immediately comment.
A deal would save the American conservative favorite channel a long and embarrassing trial in which its owner, Rupert Murdoch, 92, could be called to testify.
Dominion Voting Systems, which operated in 28 states during the 2020 election, accuses Fox News of defaming it numerous times after the November 2020 ballot lost by Donald Trump to Joe Biden, giving credit to the never proven thesis of a rigged election and pointing the finger at the role of its machines.
If a trial takes place, it will be closely followed in the United States, where it is seen as a test for freedom of expression, protected by the first amendment of the Constitution, but also for the fight against misinformation.
The case is deemed strong and the company has already won a round when Judge Eric Davis said in a March 31 order that it was “crystal clear that no assertion about Dominion during the 2020 election [was] true”.
But media convictions for defamation are rare in the United States because the plaintiff must establish a willful intent to spread false information in an attempt to harm them.