Fox-Dominion defamation trial delayed on the eve of opening statements

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A political display is posted on the outside of the Fox News headquarters on 6th Avenue in New York July 21, 2020.
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

WILMINGTON, Del. — Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News has been delayed on the eve of its scheduled start date, an official for the court said Sunday.

The conclusion of the jury selection process and the start of opening statements, which were set for Monday morning, have been pushed to Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. ET, according to a statement from Delaware Superior Court.

Spokespeople for Fox and Dominion did not immediately provide statements when asked for comment after the delay was announced Sunday night.

Dominion, which sells voting machines and election software, claimed it was defamed by Fox Corp. and its cable TV networks after Fox aired false claims that the company had rigged the 2020 election against former President Donald Trump.

Fox has argued that Dominion has not met the legal standard for defamation, and that the statements made about Dominion on its air were protected by the First Amendment.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Sunday that Fox has made a last-minute push to settle the lawsuit out of court.

Most defamation cases settle out of court. But as recently as Saturday, the possibility of Dominion and Fox avoiding trial seemed as unlikely as ever. “In the coming weeks, we will prove Fox spread lies causing enormous damage to Dominion. We look forward to trial,” a Dominion spokesman told CNBC on Saturday morning.

Judge Eric Davis, who is presiding over the case, said in a statement from the court that he will formally announce the delay from his courtroom on Monday at 9 a.m. ET.