A person walks past the Fox News headquarters in the News Corporation building on May 03, 2022 in New York City.
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Rupert Murdoch and Fox News hosts expressed disbelief at former President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, according to evidence released in Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox Corporation and its cable television networks.
In court documents filed Thursday, text messages and deposition evidence show that Fox executives and TV personalities were skeptical of claims that the election between winner Joe Biden, a Democrat, and Trump, a Republican .
The release follows months of findings and depositions that remained private until Thursday, when the companies filed court documents before a Delaware judge outlining each of their cases and uncovering the newly collected evidence.
Dominion has filed a libel suit against Fox and its right-wing cable networks, Fox News and Fox Business, arguing that the networks and its anchors made false claims that its voting machines rigged the 2020 election results.
“Really crazy stuff. And damaging stuff,” Fox Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch said in an email Nov. 19, days after the election, regarding claims by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani about FoxNews.
Top Fox News anchors like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham expressed disbelief at what Sydney Powell, a pro-Trump lawyer who aggressively promoted voter fraud allegations, also said at the time. .
Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell, attorneys for President Donald Trump, hold a press conference at the Republican National Committee on lawsuits regarding the 2020 presidential election outcome Thursday, November 19, 2020.
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“Sydney Powell is lying,” Tucker Carlson said in a text message to his producer. Meanwhile, Laura Ingraham said in a message to Carlson: “Sidney is completely mad. No one will work with her. Same with Rudy.”
“It’s incredibly offensive to me. Our viewers are good people and they believe in it,” Carlson replied, according to court documents. These messages arrived in the weeks following the election.
Dominion said in court papers that Fox admitted that Hannity and Lou Dobbs’ shows did not “dispute the narrative” that Dominion was responsible for rigging the election or producing inaccurate results.
On Thursday, Fox Corp and Fox News also filed their own motions for summary judgment. Fox Corp, which saw its efforts to have the case thrown out of court, said in court papers that after a year of discovery, the case file shows it played “no role in the creation and publication of the disputed statements – all of which aired on Fox Business Network or Fox News Channel.”
In recent months, Murdoch, along with his son Lachlan Murdoch, the CEO of Fox Corp, have faced depositions in the lawsuit.
Fox News once again said in court papers that it “has fulfilled its undertaking to fully inform and comment fairly” on claims that Dominion rigged the election against Trump.
“There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but the heart of this matter remains freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights granted by the Constitution. and protected by the New York Times against Sullivan,” Fox said in a statement on Thursday.
A spokesperson for Dominion had no comment, and its private equity owner, Staple Street Capital, did not respond to comments.
“Here, however, overwhelming direct evidence establishes Fox’s knowledge of the falsity, not just ‘doubts,'” Dominion said in court papers Thursday, pointing to several defamatory statements.
Dominion pointed to the public backlash Fox News faced on election night 2020 when it called Arizona for Joe Biden, later seeing competing right-wing networks like Newsmax take advantage of the openness with the public .
Dominion’s findings indicate that hosts such as Carlson, Ingraham and Sean Hannity understand “the threat to them personally”. Dominion points to messages Carlson sent to his producer on Nov. 5: “We’ve worked very hard to build what we have. These f—-ers are destroying our credibility. This infuriates me.”
The case is being watched closely by watchdogs and First Amendment experts. Libel suits are usually centered on a single lie. In this case, Dominion cites a long list of examples of Fox TV hosts making false claims even after they turned out to be false. Media companies are often heavily protected by the First Amendment.
These cases are usually settled out of court or dismissed. But the Delaware judge in charge of the case rejected these requests. The trial is expected to begin in mid-April.
At a status conference last week, Dominion’s attorney raised concerns that certain evidence, such as minutes of board meetings and research results home records, had not yet been produced by Fox and its television networks.
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