Fox News has named Adam Ciongoli its top lawyer, replacing Viet Dinh, who was ousted after advising the network on its massive $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems.
As chief legal and policy officer, Ciongoli will lead its legal, compliance, and regulatory functions and oversee government affairs, the company said in a statement Friday.
Dinh’s departure came after he reportedly advocated for not settling the Dominion case too quickly. The deal was announced just before opening statements in the trial were set to begin.
The Dominion case exposed internal disagreements at Fox over the coverage of the 2020 election and led to the departure of several staffers. Topping Ciongoli’s to-do list is a second lawsuit brought by a voting machine company Smartmatic over its coverage of the lies surrounding the 2020 election results.
The company filed a $2.7 billion case against Fox in 2021 that is winding its way through the court system. Last month, the New York judge in the case turned back Fox’s effort to subpoena liberal billionaire George Soros, the target of countless right-wing conspiracy theories, to search for any links he might have with Smartmatic, CNN reported.
It was not immediately clear when the Smartmatic case will go to trial.
Ciogoli, who most recently served as the general counsel for Campbell Soup Co., began his career at Kirland & Ellis, where Dinh was a partner before joining Fox, Bloomberg Law reported. The two have been friends for decades, the report said.
Ciogoli was a protege of Kenneth Starr, the late conservative lawyer and former U.S. solicitor general whose led the Whitewater Investigation of President Bill Clinton. He also clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. and worked under U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in the George W. Bush administration with Dinh.
“I am pleased to welcome Adam to the FOX executive leadership team,” said Fox Executive Chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch in a statement. “Adam’s extensive legal experience across various industries and government will be a tremendous asset to our company.”
Ciongoli, 55, is signed on through 2026. He will receive $7.5 million in total compensation, according to regulatory filing submitted by Fox describing his contract. That breaks down to $1.75 million in salary, a target bonus of $2.75 million, and $3 million in stock awards.
Ciongoli also got $5.35 million in stock and option awards, part of which was intended to offset the value of awards he would have gotten from Campbell’s.
“I’m excited to join the FOX team at such a dynamic time in the media industry,” said Ciongoli. “FOX is uniquely positioned to build on the momentum that has been established by its industry leading brands. I look forward to contributing to the company’s continued success.”
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