A massive $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit by a voting machine company over Fox News election lies got a whole lot more serious last month when a judge ruled the action can proceed in a scathing ruling against Rupert Murdoch and his son.
He determined that it was a reasonable inference that Murdoch and son Lachlan either knew outright that Dominion had not manipulated the election or “recklessly disregarded the truth” when Fox disseminated lies initially launched by Donald Trump.
Conservative news outlets OAN and Newsmax have also been sued by Dominion for defamation for $1.6 billion each.
“Dominion has a very strong case against Fox News,” Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a constitutional law professor at Florida’s Stetson University and fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, told The Guardian.
All of the “conspiracy theories about Dominion’s machines were just pure bunk,” she added. “Fox as a news organization should have known that and not given this aspect of [Trump’s] ‘big lie’ a megaphone.”
What’s particularly bad for Fox, she noted, is that Dominion asked the network to stop disseminating the lies and correct the record, yet “Fox persisted in spreading misrepresentations about the voting machine company.”
A particularly intriguing development could be the exposure of text and email messages among the Trump White House, Fox News personalities, and even Rupert Murdoch.
“I think once you start to pull the discovery material, what you’re going to find is there was a lot of communication between the Trump people both internally and externally about pushing very specific lies and narratives,” Angelo Carusone, chief executive of Media Matters for America, told The Guardian.
A Fox spokesman told the newspaper: “We are confident we will prevail in this case, as the First Amendment is the foundation of our democracy and freedom of the press must be protected.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article referred to Eric David as a Delaware Supreme Court judge. He is a judge on the Superior Court of Delaware.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.