The top lawyer for Fox News says the network paid $787m to settle the Dominion lawsuit to save “months of pain.”
“We knew we were right in the law, (but) the trial judge put us in a situation increasingly where it was very obvious that we were not able to win the trial, but we were very confident we would prevail on appeal,” said Mr Dinh, Fox Corporation’s outgoing chief legal and policy officer, according to the news network.
He added: “As the judge compounded error upon error, we would get more and more confident in our ultimate chances of prevailing on appeal — because at some point, it became not just a matter of reversible error, it called into the fundamental fairness and integrity of the Delaware civil justice system.”
Rupert Murdoch settled the case brought by Dominion against Fox News and its parent company after hosts and guests repeatedly and falsely claimed on air that Dominion voting machines rigged the 2020 presidential election by recording Donald Trump’s votes for Joe Biden.
The Independent has reached out to Fox for comment.
Mr Dinh claimed at the event that the pre-trial decisions by Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis had “hamstrung” his company and that taking the case to trial would have caused “three to four months of utter pain” as employees were called to testify.
In the wake of the massive settlement, Fox News fired right-wing host Tucker Carlson, one of the network’s leading election conspiracy theorists.
During the discovery process, a text message from Mr Tucker emerged in which he wrote that he “passionately” hated Mr Trump.
Mr Dinh, whose departure was announced four months after the settlement, was reportedly an advocate of not settling the case, according to Mr Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal.
He told the event that the settlement was a “business decision” even though the judge ruled that none of Fox’s on-air statements about Dominion were true and that they could not argue to a jury that the claims were aired because they were “newsworthy”.
Fox still faces a $2bn lawsuit from voting machine company Smartmatic which is still in discovery.