<span>Photo: Ted Shaffrey/AP</span>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/BI1KKFV_uaPPwXScxzkENg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/89afe383b3bdecfc723f665cb59fd7d0 “https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/BI1KKFV_uaPPwXScxzkENg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/89afe383b3bdecfc723f665cb9fd7d05″/></div>
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A judge on Friday refused to dismiss Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, clearing the way for the case to go to trial in mid-April.

The judge denied Fox’s motion for summary judgment and instead partially granted Dominion’s motion.

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“The evidence developed in this civil case shows that it is clear to KRISTALL that none of the statements made regarding Dominion about the 2020 election are true,” the judge wrote. “Therefore, the court will enter summary judgment in Dominion’s favor with respect to the element of untruth.”

In a statement to the Guardian, Dominion welcomed the decision.

“We are pleased with the court’s thorough ruling, which dismisses all of Fox’s arguments and defenses and rightly finds that its claims about Dominion are false,” they wrote. “We look forward to the process”

Unless Fox and Dominion decide to settle the case before trial, jury selection will begin April 13, and the trial, scheduled to begin April 17, is expected to last approximately six weeks. Celebrity Fox News anchors and executives are expected to appear for personal statements.

The case, based on Fox News’ false claims about Dominion and the role it played in allowing mass voting fraud that tipped the balance of the 2020 presidential election, represents one of the most aggressive attempts at an enterprise for the big lie of former President Donald Trump to account.

Erin Murphy, an attorney representing Fox, recently told the court that the network cannot be held liable because it merely disseminated allegations by representatives of the incumbent president.

But the judge dismissed that argument on Friday. “Fox News Network is not a passive entity,” he wrote. “Fox News Network controls what airs on its various networks.”

Fox issued a statement following the summary judgment. “This case was, and always has been, about the first amendment to the protection of the media’s absolute right to report news,” the statement said. “Fox will continue to be a strong advocate for freedom of speech and a free press as we move into the next phase of this process.”

While Fox continues to deny the defamation allegations, the emails and text correspondence between its employees that have already been uncovered during the trial are telling and, in some ways, mean that Dominion has already won the messaging battle. On several occasions, prominent Fox host Tucker Carlson used the word “ruthless” to describe the network’s constant lies that aided Trump’s efforts to overthrow the election.


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