Rupert Murdoch to be filed in $1.6 billion defamation case against Fox

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Rupert Murdoch, the 91-year-old chairman of Fox News parent company Fox Corp, will be forced to answer questions under oath next week about his network’s coverage of the 2020 presidential election.

Murdoch will be deposed on the mornings of Dec. 13 and 14 in election technology company Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, according to a filing in Delaware Superior Court. The lawsuit alleges the network deliberately aired false statements about Dominion’s role in the 2020 presidential election to boost ratings and fight competition from more conservative television networks.

According to the filing, Murdoch’s deposition will be conducted remotely, via videoconference.

Dominion Voting Systems sued Fox News for $1.6 billion on March 26 over repeated false allegations of voter fraud made by network hosts and guests. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

Rupert Murdoch is the most high-profile person to be impeached by Dominion lawyers, who have spent the past few months calling on network executives, producers and hosts to answer questions about whether his ‘they knew the claims made about Dominion technology on the airwaves at Fox were false. Many of the most egregious comments were made by unpaid guests, including Donald Trump-affiliated lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, although some were echoed by Fox hosts including Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs, who no longer works for the company.

On Monday, Rupert Murdoch’s eldest son, Lachlan Murdoch, attended an in-person deposition at a law office in Los Angeles. Murdoch is the executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corp, and is seen as the likely successor to his media titan father. James Murdoch, who was once chief executive of Fox News’ parent company 21st Century Fox but has since severed ties with the family’s media entities, was fired Oct. 25.

Dominion lawyers have also deposed prominent Fox hosts, including Sean Hannity, Pirro and Tucker Carlson, and former on-air personalities, including Shepard Smith. In doing so, attorneys for the election tech company attempted to probe the internal culture and reporting practices of the top-rated cable news network. The company also got tons of internal communications from Fox employees and executives.

Suzanne Scott, the chief executive of Fox News, was removed on November 1, while Fox News chairman Jay Wallace was removed two weeks later.

Fox News stars questioned by election tech company in defamation case

Hannity’s deposition on August 31 lasted more than seven hours, according to court records. He was specifically asked about a November 30, 2020 episode in which Powell claimed that Dominion “ran an algorithm that reduced Trump’s votes and attributed them to Biden” and “used the machines to inject and add quantities Massive votes for Mr Biden. Dominion previously warned reporters and Fox producers that audits and reviews had found no evidence of fraud or vote counting in the election. Hannity aired Powell’s attack against Dominion “when she knew it was wrong and knew it was coming,” the company said in a court filing, while Pirro “hosted Powell and endorsed his statements.”

Fox News argued that Dominion’s lawsuit is an affront to freedom of the press principles and that the amount of money sought is “outrageous”. Company attorneys said Fox was merely covering up newsworthy allegations of voter fraud made by a very public figure.

“There are very few events over the past 50 years in this country that I think are more newsworthy than our president alleging that our entire democratic system has been overthrown by a voting machine company that steals votes,” veteran attorney Dan Webb, who represents Fox, told the Washington Post in August.

Fox sought to block Hannity and Pirro from sharing “confidential sources and information”, arguing that it is “a reporter’s right to keep secrets”. But Hannity has said in the past that he doesn’t consider himself a journalist, and Dominion has argued that while they count as journalists, there is no such right when the information is directly relevant to whether Fox acted with “actual malice”. .”

None of the parties to the case have hinted that a settlement of the case may be imminent. If a deal isn’t reached, a five-week trial in Delaware Superior Court is set to begin on April 17. Fox News is calling for the case to be combined with an “identical” lawsuit against Fox Corporation, saying Dominion “shouldn’t have.” two chances to drag Fox through massive public trials.

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