The Delaware judge who admonished Fox News’ lawyers late last week for withholding critical information from Dominion in the voting machines company’s substantially well-documented $1.6 billion defamation case Sunday night announced the start of the trial has been delayed 24 hours until Tuesday morning.
“The Court has decided to continue the start of the trial,” Judge Davis reportedly writes, apparently meaning “delay” instead of continuing, “including jury selection, until Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. I will make such an announcement tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 7E.”
Many across social media went into freak-out mode as experts offered guesses that Fox News might try to settle rather than open itself to further reputational devastation. Already Dominion has won a major ruling that blocks the right-wing media outlet from being able to claim the election lies it promoted were newsworthy. Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis ruled the evidence Dominion provided – at least hundreds of pages – “demonstrates that [it] is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” Davis, as Forbes had reported late last month, “found that Fox’s behavior constituted defamation per se, meaning the statements exposed the company ‘to public contempt, hatred, ridicule, aversion, or disgrace.'”
Some suggested the delay was to allow Dominion time to depose Rupert Murdoch, who Fox News’ attorneys only at the last minute admitted is officially an officer of Fox News. The judge repeatedly blasted the lawyers, sanctioned them, and threatened to open an investigation.
Longtime media correspondent Brian Selter offered his insight minutes after Judge Davis’ announcement:
I was about to go live on @CBCNews when the judge in Dominion v. Fox delayed the start of the trial. The questions now: Is Fox serious about settling and will Dominion accept the deal? pic.twitter.com/B7BXqBFeIl
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 17, 2023
Indeed, The Wall Street Journal reports, “Fox has made a late push to settle the dispute with Dominion Voting Systems out of court, people familiar with the situation said Sunday.”
And Stelter adds on Twitter, “As I reported for VF, Fox has already pursued settlement talks on multiple occasions. Dominion, knowing it has tremendous leverage, held firm. Many legal experts have wondered about the odds of a settlement hours before opening arguments…”
Many, as Stelter suggested and the Journal later reported, worry the delay is to allow Fox News time to settle, in a case many feel the propaganda network has effectively already lost.
“I’m feeling settlement talks. Need more time. DON’T SETTLE!” tweeted attorney and Democratic activist Ron Filipkowski.
Journalist Ryan Busse said, “Dominion….if you are listening…pretty sure an army of patriots will crowd fund to keep you in this. I see hands going up now. Don’t settle unless it involves 50minutes of every fox hour with on-air admission of guilt, apologies and graveling.”
Meanwhile, Media Matters for America’s Matthew Gertz offers Dominion some advice: “Something Dominion should probably keep in mind is that after Fox News settled with Seth Rich’s family, Tucker Carlson resumed lying about Rich (albeit without explicitly mentioning his name).”
Writer and activist Victor Shi says, “America deserves to know exactly what happened at Fox & the extent to which they lied. America deserves to know the facts and truth. Dominion, fight until the very end.”
A Twitter account named This Is Debs writes, “Oh I’m so glad to see others say they hope dominion won’t settle. I think the damage Fox did affects the general population as much (or more) than Dominion and it’s in our interest for this case to be heard in open, public court. That is worth a lot more than settlement money.”
Former Asst. U.S. Attorney at SDNY, Richard Signorelli, tweets, “My guess on the @dominionvoting case is that Murdoch has instructed his attorneys to settle this case on the best terms possible but that it has to settle. Dominion knows this and will get a top dollar settlement if they stand firm. Murdoch does not want to go to trial.”
Dr. Allison Gill, who runs the popular Mueller She Wrote account, tweeted simply:
Please don’t settle.
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Peter Navarro, Former Top Trump White House Advisor, Guilty of Criminal Contempt
Peter Navarro, the controversial economist and former top Trump White House advisor, was found guilty by a jury on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress Thursday afternoon after a short trial that began on Tuesday.
Navarro refused to comply with a congressional subpoena issued by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
Legal experts had predicted a “quick conviction” after Navarro, called a “conspiracy theorist” who promotes “fringe” economic theories, had called no witnesses. The jury deliberated for under five hours. He faces up to two years in prison.
“The defendant chose allegiance to former President Trump over compliance with a subpoena,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Aloi told the jury Thursday, as Politico reported. “The defendant chose defiance.”
“Our government only works when people play by the rules and it only works when people are held accountable when they do not,” Aloi also said, during closing arguments. “When a person intentionally and deliberately chooses to defy a congressional subpoena, that is a crime.”
Politico reported earlier that “ Navarro has long claimed that Trump told him to defy the committee’s Feb. 9, 2022 subpoena and assert executive privilege, a demand he said conferred immunity from having to cooperate with Congress’ investigation.”
“There’s no mistake, no accident,” prosecutor John Crabb told jurors, NBC News adds.
“That man thinks he’s above the law,” Crabb said. “In this country, nobody is above the law.”
‘Look for a Quick Conviction Here’: Navarro Jury Could Reach a Verdict ‘Early This Afternoon’
Peter Navarro‘s criminal contempt of Congress trial is moving quickly and the jury may come to a verdict as early as this afternoon, court watchers say.
Navarro, who has been called a “conspiracy theorist” who holds “fringe” and “oddball” economic views, is a former top Trump White House aide. He advanced “Big Lie” election fraud claims and refused to comply with a February, 2022 subpoena issued by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack. He was criminally indicted in June of 2022 by a federal grand jury.
The trial began Tuesday in D.C. federal court.
Just before 11 AM Thursday the case was handed to the jury, Politico’s Kyle Cheney reports.
“Given the brevity of the case, a verdict is highly likely in the next few hours,” Cheney adds, noting: “If convicted, he faces up to one year on each of two counts — one for refusing to testify, one for refusing to provide docs.”
“Navarro has long claimed that Trump told him to defy the committee’s Feb. 9, 2022 subpoena and assert executive privilege, a demand he said conferred immunity from having to cooperate with Congress’ investigation,” Politico reports. “For months, U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta wrestled with intricate questions about how executive privilege might apply to a former adviser to a former president, whether Navarro’s belief that Trump had invoked the privilege constituted a defense to the charges and how the Justice Department’s decision to charge him compares with its longstanding views of immunity for some senior executive branch officials from compelled congressional testimony.”
Wednesday evening, former top DOJ official Harry Litman noted, “Peter Navarro evidence already done, closing arguments tomorrow. Basically, it’s an incredibly simple case — he knew he had to comply with the subpoena, and he still thumbed his nose at it.”
Adding the the government called three witness but “Navarro called nobody,” Litman predicted: “Look for a quick conviction here.”
‘How Much the Former President Should Pay Her’: Judge Hands Trump Big Loss in E. Jean Carroll Case
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan handed journalist E. Jean Carroll a win on Wednesday in her remaining case against Donald Trump, after the journalist’s attorneys hit hard against the ex-president’s request for a stay of her original civil trial against him for defamation, which was slated for January.
Judge Kaplan on Wednesday ruled Trump is liable for defamation over remarks he made against Carroll in 2019, after she publicly accused him of rape years prior, CNBC reports. A jury in May award Carroll $5 million in a separate civil trial, finding the ex-president liable for sexual abuse and defamation.
Handing Carroll “partial summary judgment,” Judge Kaplan “said the upcoming trial for Carroll’s civil lawsuit against Trump will only deal with the question of how much the former president should pay her in monetary damages.”
That closely aligns with remarks last month made by Carroll’s attorney, Robbie Kaplan, who said, “the January 15th jury trial will be limited to a narrow set of issues and shouldn’t take very long to complete.”
“E. Jean Carroll looks forward to obtaining additional compensatory and punitive damages based on the original defamatory statements Donald Trump made in 2019,” Kaplan said, as NPR reported.
On Wednesday in a motion Carroll’s attorneys had warned the judge that Carroll “faces continuing defamatory attacks from Trump,” while requesting the judge not grant the ex-president’s motion for a stay of the upcoming January trial.
After her May win at trial, speaking to CNN about the verdict, Carroll said Trump indeed had raped her: “Oh, yes he did.”
Trump filed a counter defamation lawsuit, but the judge denied his claim, agreeing with Carroll, and saying, “Mr. Trump ‘raped her,’ albeit digitally rather than with his penis.”
“In fact, both acts constitute ‘rape’ in common parlance, its definition in some dictionaries, in some federal and state criminal statutes, and elsewhere.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now a professor of law and MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst on Wednesday posted the motion from Carroll’s attorneys and wrote: “lawyers for @ejeancarroll have filed a motion opposing Trump’s efforts to stay his January defamation trial (only damages are left to be determined) pending appeal. Knives out, but Trump deserves it for trying to abuse the legal process to avoid accountability.”
Carroll’s attorneys wrote that Trump’s “motion for a stay ignores virtually the entire factual and procedural history of this four-year-old case and barely responds to Judge Kaplan’s decision denying such relief. That is no coincidence,” they said.
They accused Trump of “procedural gamesmanship,” called his points “meritless,” and said that when tested, “Trump’s position collapses.” They later called Trump’s position “frivolous.”
Trump would not “face substantial injury if he were denied a stay,” they said, and called the “harms that he describes … mainly self-inflicted.”
They also claimed “his objections to a short trial in January 2024 ring hollow based on his own litigation conduct. Indeed, Trump expressly requested an expedited trial in this case less than six months ago, and changed his mind only after an adverse verdict in a related matter.”
“In contrast, Plaintiff-Appellee E. Jean Carroll, who is 79 years old and faces continuing defamatory attacks from Trump, would suffer significant harm from a stay and such an order would also undermine core public interests,” they wrote. “This Court should therefore deny Trump’s motion for a stay.”
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