Lachlan Murdoch: After Huge Dominion Settlement, Fox News Faces a 'Fundamentally Different' Legal Challenge With Smartmatic

Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch at 2019 Allen & Co. conference
(Image credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fresh off its monster $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems last month, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch worked to convince equity analysts Tuesday that another pending libel suit against his company by yet another voting machine maker, Smartmatic, won't go the same way. 

Murdoch told analysts the two cases are "fundamentally different," in that Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis would not allow Fox News to stand on its First Amendment rights as a "news organization" in the Dominion matter. 

Also read: Dominion Settlement Leaves Fox With $54 Million Q3 Loss

For Smartmatic's pending $2.7 billion suit, which is being adjudicated by the same court, Murdoch said Fox's "full compliment of First Amendment defenses remain." 

Speaking during Fox's first-quarter earnings call Tuesday, Murdoch said a trial in the Smartmatic case probably wouldn't start until 2025.

“I am obviously limited about what I can say about any ongoing litigation, but I can make the following comment, in regard to Dominion,” he said. “We always acted as a news organization reporting on the newsworthy events of the day, which certainly included allegations being made by the president of the United States and his lawyers.”

Fox attributed a $54 million loss in the first quarter directly to the hefty Dominion settlement. 

“We made the business decision to resolve this dispute and avoid the acrimony of a divisive trial and a multi-year appeal process, a decision clearly in the best interests of the company and its shareholders,” Murdoch added. 

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!