PAYDIRT: Fox News and former host settle election defamation case

PAYDIRT: Fox News & former host settle election defamation case

One more defamation case stemming from right-wing accusations of election fraud in 2020 just came to a conclusion as Fox News and former host Lou Dobbs agreed to a settlement with a plaintiff who says he was harmed by false claims made about him.

Venezuelan businessman Majed Khalil’s case against the network and Dobbs is sparking speculation about the potential outcome of other election cases.

Dobbs named Khalil in a December 2020 tweet as part of a “cyber Pearl Harbor,” sharing a screenshot of a document asserting that the man was the “COO [Chief Operating Officer] of the election project.”

For clarity, what he refers to as the “election project” was more specifically described in a previous paragraph as the “election-stealing project.”

Khalil sued, noting that no one had reached out to him for comment before running the story including the false claim.

Dobbs sought a dismissal, rejected as the judge in the case pointed out that by the time of this broadcast, numerous experts had already stated that there was no evidence for the election fraud conspiracy theory.

Now, there’s a settlement, bringing the case to an end only days before jury selection begins in the broader defamation case against Fox and multiple hosts over the false stories about Dominion Voting Systems.

No details of the settlement are being released publicly, but if they include any public apology or retraction, it’s yet to be seen. The New York Times reported:

“In a letter filed on Saturday to a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, the parties said they had reached a confidential settlement, although they did not disclose the terms…Mr. Dobbs and Sidney Powell, a regular guest on Fox News, said on-air and in related Twitter posts that Dominion was using software to flip votes from President Trump to Joseph R. Biden Jr., or to add votes for Mr. Biden.”

Powell, unlike Dobbs, was able to get the case against her dismissed, according to Law & Crime News, though she’s still facing a defamation suit from Dominion, and has been hit with sanctions over false claims about the election as she and other attorneys dragged untenable cases through courtrooms on Donald Trump’s behalf.

Fox did air a corrective statement about a week after the unsupported claims against Khalil, essentially admitting that much of the conspiracy theory spread on the network was false.

However, that segment (which you can view below) focused predominantly on Smartmatic, another company making voting machines, and did not address the false statements about Khalil and others.

Dobbs’ show was canceled months later.

Below you’ll see a screenshot of Dobbs’ tweet referencing Khalil, with the most relevant portion highlighted.


[Screenshot via Lou Dobbs/Twitter]