In a significant development at Fox Corporation, its Chief Legal Officer, Viet Dinh, has announced his departure. This decision comes after Fox’s historic $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, a prominent election technology company. The release of Dinh, who played a crucial role in overseeing the legal aspects of the settlement, marks a significant shake-up within the corporate ranks of the media giant.
The Departure of Viet Dinh and Its Implications
Fox Corporation recently made a public announcement confirming the departure of Viet Dinh, its Chief Legal Officer, at the end of the year. Dinh, who held influential positions and was known for his close relationship with Lachlan Murdoch, Chief Executive of Fox Corporation, will continue contributing to the company as a Special Advisor even after his departure. However, his exit raises questions about how Fox will navigate the ongoing significant lawsuits due to disseminating false claims about widespread election fraud following the 2020 election.
The Dominion Settlement and Dinh’s Role
Viet Dinh was at the helm of the legal strategy surrounding Fox Corporation’s $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems. This landmark settlement came in the wake of Dominion’s defamation lawsuit against Fox News, which exposed a pattern of misleading coverage by the network following the 2020 presidential election. Despite criticism and legal challenges, Dinh maintained that Fox was on solid legal ground and could take the case to the Supreme Court, expecting a victory based on First Amendment grounds.
Critique of Dinh’s Handling
However, Dinh’s handling of the Dominion suit faced scrutiny from within the company, with allegations that he provided flawed advice during the litigation process. Some executives and hosts at Fox News were skeptical of the claims made by former President Donald J. Trump regarding voter fraud. This internal skepticism was revealed through emails and text messages as part of the discovery process in the Dominion case. The exposure of such internal communication further complicated the legal situation for Fox Corporation.
Impact on Fox’s Legal Landscape
Dinh’s departure comes as Fox Corporation grapples with lawsuits about false election conspiracy theories aired in 2020. One such case is from Smartmatic, another elections technology company that sued Fox for $2.7 billion. The company also faces a defamation suit from Ray Epps, a figure central to conspiracy theories about the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Additionally, shareholder lawsuits are looming over Fox’s coverage and handling of these legal disputes.
The Fallout from the Dominion Lawsuit
The Dominion lawsuit has destabilized Fox and the Murdoch family, which controls the company. The revelations from internal communication demonstrated skepticism about some personalities’ false claims on air. As a result, Fox News canceled the program of its prime-time host, Tucker Carlson, and parted ways with other figures involved in the controversy. While Fox has settled several high-profile defamation cases this year, the largest lawsuit by Smartmatic remains pending and is expected to go to trial in 2025.
The Way Forward
Viet Dinh’s exit raises questions about how Fox Corporation will navigate its legal challenges in the future. The departure of a critical legal figure, who influenced the company’s legal strategy, could impact its ongoing battles in court. As Fox faces the legal consequences of its past actions, the media landscape continues to evolve, leaving the company with crucial decisions to make as it moves forward.
The departure of Viet Dinh, Fox Corporation’s Chief Legal Officer, marks a significant moment for the media giant as it grapples with the aftermath of a historic settlement with Dominion Voting Systems. Dinh’s role in overseeing legal strategy, his handling of the Dominion lawsuit, and the impact of the payment on Fox’s future legal battles have all come under scrutiny. As the media landscape changes, Fox Corporation must navigate the legal challenges ahead while reevaluating its leadership and strategies.