Fox Corp. privately settled a defamation case with Venezuelan businessman Majed Khalil last week, according to a letter to the federal judge overseeing the case dated April 8.
Khalil got caught up in voting machine conspiracy theories put forward by Trump attorney Sidney Powell on Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight and on social media, suing Fox Corp., Fox News and host Lou Dobbs for defamation.
The settlement comes days before Dominion Voting System’s sweeping defamation case goes to trial. The specific broadcast and tweet that Khalil challenged is also challenged in the Dominion lawsuit. Fox canceled Dobbs’ well-rated show in February 2021.
According to court documents, Khalil was described on Dobbs’ show and on social media as a key player in a voting machine scheme linked to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that Powell says was used to rig the 2020 US election in a broadcast on December 10 of that year. Dobbs’s Twitter account described it as a «cyber Pearl Harbor in the 2020 election» on the same day.
According to Khalil’s presentation, he has never had any business dealings or ties with voting system companies Dominion or Smartmatic.
“The parties are pleased to jointly inform the Court that they have reached a confidential agreement to resolve this matter. The parties anticipate filing a joint stipulation of dismissal with prejudice early next week,” the attorneys said in a letter to the court.
U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton for the Southern District of New York denied a motion to dismiss the proceedings last year, taking issue with Fox News’ argument that the broadcast and the tweet promoting it were protected by the First Amendment and other legal protections. Fox Business never contacted Khalil in its reporting, the warrant noted, even as he was repeatedly identified as a player in a criminal scheme.
“This matter has been amicably resolved by both parties,” a Fox News spokesperson said. «We have no further comment.»