Judge Eric Davis noted in his 52-page opinion that Dominion’s complaint “supports the reasonable inference that Fox either (i) knew its statements about Dominion’s role in election fraud were false or (ii) had a high degree of awareness that the statements were false.”
Dominion is alleging that Fox News hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Sean Hannity gave Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani a platform to lie about the voting process. While being deposed for the case, Powell and Giuliani basically admitted they didn’t really care whether the claims they were spouting were true. “It’s not my job in a fast-moving case to go out and investigate every piece of evidence that’s given to me,” said Giuliani, Trump’s former personal attorney. “Otherwise, you’re never going to write a story. You’re never going to come to a conclusion.”
Because of this sloppy work — if it’s even considered work at all — Dobbs, Bartiromo, and Hannity ended up having to air a fact-check package debunking lies pushed by themselves and their guests. The package was spurred by a legal threat by voting technology company Smartmatic, whose software Powell falsely claimed was “created by Hugo Chavez.”
Fox News taking this measure implies it recognized that impending election lawsuits could get ugly. Thursday’s ruling implies they were right.
While the case proceeds, Dominion is still seeing potential consequences of Fox News’ lies. A small Nevada county that former President Trump won with nearly 80 percent of the vote in last year’s election on Thursday decided to spend $223,000 to throw out Dominion’s machines. The county will shell out another $69,000 to install, maintain, and train workers to use new ones.