No reason was officially given for the delay, which was announced Sunday evening by the judge overseeing the case. On Monday, jury selection had been scheduled to conclude before both sides were scheduled to give their opening arguments, kicking off what was expected to be a six-week trial in earnest. Voting technology company Dominion filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against the network alleging that Fox guests and hosts defamed the company by connecting it to a plot to fraudulently steal the 2020 presidential election.
“The Court has decided to continue the start of the trial, including jury selection, until Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at 9:00 a.m.,” Judge Eric M. Davis said in a statement provided by a public information officer on Sunday night. “I will make such an announcement tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 7E.”
On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s family, reported: “Fox has made a late push to settle the dispute out of court.” A spokesperson for Fox News’ parent company, Fox Corp., did not provide a comment when asked both about the delay and the possibility of a late settlement deal. A spokesperson for Dominion said the company does not have any comment at this time.
The court has previously communicated that both Fox and Dominion engaged in a round of mediation in December 2022 but were unable to reach a settlement agreement.
Jury selection was originally supposed to conclude at the end of last week before the judge announced late Thursday that the process would instead finish on Monday morning. Several of the prospective jurors were unavailable to return to court on Friday morning, he said.