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Fox News and Rupert Murdoch's legal headaches are just beginning

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Dominion Voting Systems isn’t out of the proverbial woods yet in the wake of Fox News’ $787.5 million settlement in a defamation lawsuit filed by Fox Corporation and Rupert Murdoch, legal experts tell newsweek,

The settlement was reached before the case went to trial and allowed Fox Corporation Chairman Murdoch to discuss false claims made by network anchors and guests about Dominion and its role in alleged election fraud related to the 2020 presidential election. Testimony included. Dominion originally filed for $1.6 billion.

John Poulos, Dominion’s CEO, said, “Fox has admitted to lying about Dominion, which has caused enormous damage to my company, our employees and our customers. No one can make up for it.” newsweek in a statement after Tuesday’s settlement.

Fox Corporation’s legal battle may just begin, however, due to various lawsuits — including a new complaint filed Thursday in Delaware’s Chancery Court, according to Bloomberg Law.

That class-action suit, which was filed under seal, allegedly accused Murdoch’s eldest son, Lachlan, and former US House Speaker Paul Ryan, and other company brass of current Fox board members, of putting the company in legal jeopardy. targets for.

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Dominion Voting Systems CEO John Poulos (2nd L) along with members of his legal team Davida Brooke (L), Justin Nelson (3rd L) and Stephen Shackelford (R) leave the Leonard Williams Justice Center where Dominion Fox News Was suing. Defamation in Delaware Superior Court after a settlement is reached on April 18, 2023 in Wilmington, Delaware. Fox Corporation still faces several other lawsuits.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The lead shareholders of the proposed class action, Julie Greenberg and Carylyn Reek, are represented by Prickett, Jones & Elliott PA. newsweek Greenberg was reached via email for comment.

That suit compares to a shareholder derivative lawsuit filed in the same court on April 11 by James Schwarz, which “claims breach of fiduciary duty” against certain members of the company’s board of directors and senior executives.

Represented by Hayman Enerio Gattuso & Hirzel LLP and Gardie & Notice LLP in Wilmington, Delaware, Schwarz alleges that “24-Hour News Channel knowingly caused the news channel to broadcast, promote, and discredit a false election fraud story in connection with the election.” 2020 US presidential election to maintain ratings and viewership of the network, which was known to be a supporter of Donald Trump.”

The lawsuit claims, “Fox executives and the board knew that Fox News anchors made false statements to the public, even at the cost of misleading viewers.” “Fox knew that its viewers expected Fox to show support for President Trump, so to satisfy their viewers, some Fox News anchors blamed Dominion and Smartmatic for President Trump’s loss by claiming the election was rigged.” Convicted.”

Attorney Kurt Heyman, who is among those representing Schwarz, said newsweek told via email that the firm did not have a comment at this time.

Dominion’s rival election technology company Smartmatic sued Fox News in February 2021 for defamation. It is seeking $2.7 billion in damages from the corporation, which also includes some anchors, in a lawsuit seeking more than $1 billion more than the case settled earlier this week.

Connolly said in a statement, “Dominion’s litigation exposed some of the misconduct and harm caused by Fox’s disinformation campaign. Smartmatic will uncover the rest.” Tweeted Tuesday afternoon by Semaphore editor-in-chief Ben Smith. “Smartmatic is committed to clearing its name, compensating for the significant damages caused to the company, and holding Fox accountable for undermining democracy.”

Statement from Smartmatic attorney Eric Connolly: “Dominion’s litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox’s misinformation campaign. Smartmatic will expose the rest. 1/2

— Ben Smith (@semaforben) April 18, 2023

newsweek TechCrunch reached out to Smartmatic via email for comment.

“We stand ready to defend this case when it goes to trial in 2025,” said Brian Nicks, a spokesman for Fox Corporation. newsweek Friday via email. “As the report prepared by our financial expert shows, Smartmatic’s claims of damages are implausible, far removed from reality, and on the face of it are intended to chill First Amendment freedoms.”

‘Smell of blood in the water’

Nima Rahmani, former federal prosecutor and president of West Coast Trial Lawyers newsweek via phone that shareholder derivative suits are being filed because Fox Corporation has lost value and the directors are liable to those shareholders for such losses.

Rahmani said, “In a suit like that, they’re going to be able to do discovery … and they’re going to be able to see what Murdoch knew, what the host knew.” “All these evidences will come out.”

He was recalled from a $90 million settlement by Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. in 2017 against former big-time host Bill O’Reilly following sexual harassment claims on Fox News.

,[Smartmatic has] They smell blood in the water,” he said. “They are already asking for more money. Fox has a history of handling these types of cases in the past. The officers have to testify in a very public way, in an embarrassing way.

“Now [Smartmatic has] To think that the company is on their heels, and they are about to get paid. I wouldn’t be surprised if they break the billion dollar mark. They must be feeling fantastic right now.”

New York-based attorney Andrew Lieb told newsweek via email that “Dominion has really paved the way” for these derivative-based lawsuits.

“Clearly, this is not Murdoch’s week,” said Lieb. “More than that, we can only hope that this lawsuit can go to trial so that Fox’s stars will have to testify as to where their viewers can hear from them that they did this intentionally to incite hatred and increase viewership.” Lied. The country deserves so much.”