Rupert Murdoch is expected to be called as a witness in the Fox News vs. Dominion defamation trial ‘as soon as Monday’
- Rupert Murdoch is set to take the stand next week in Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against Fox News
- Last week, the judge in the case ruled that he would not stand in the way of allowing lawyers to call the 92-year-old to the stand
- Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in damages after accusing the network of spreading misinformation around the 2020 presidential election
Fox Corporation chair Rupert Murdoch is set to take the stand in the defamation suit being brought against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems.
Dominion is suing the network for $1.6 billion over claims that Fox defamed the voting firm by questioning their technology and methods after Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden in the presidential election. Fox is fiercely contesting the allegations.
According to Bloomberg, Murdoch’s appearance could come as soon as Monday. The report said the 92-year-old will likely be the first or second witness called by the prosecution. Jury selection in the trial is scheduled to begin on Thursday.
Last week, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis said he would not block Dominion from calling Murdoch to testify in-person about his involvement in the coverage, which Davis has ruled was false and defamatory.
The case will be one of the most closely watched U.S. defamation cases in decades. The jury will decide whether Fox News should pay Dominion Voting Systems for spreading election-rigging falsehoods.
Rupert Murdoch is set to take the stand next week in Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News
Dominion asserts that Fox’s top brass approved of the coverage, but the network says the evidence of high-level involvement is threadbare
The jury pool will be drawn from New Castle County, Delaware, where Democrats outnumber Republicans more than two-to-one, according to the state’s Department of Elections.
A critical task for jurors over the five-week trial will be deciding who was responsible for the cable network’s decision to broadcast the claims despite internal doubts about their veracity.
Dominion asserts that Fox’s top brass approved of the coverage, but the network says the evidence of high-level involvement is threadbare.
The voting machine firm alleges that Fox destroyed its business by knowingly airing false claims that its ballot counting machines were used to flip the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election against former President Trump.
Fox has maintained it was simply covering newsworthy allegations.
However, the court proceedings have shown that many of its executives and hosts aired the claims despite not believing them to be true.
The trial has been widely viewed as a test of whether Fox’s coverage crossed the line between ethical journalism and the heedless pursuit of ratings, as Dominion alleges and Fox denies.
Opening arguments are set to begin April 17.
They will come weeks after Davis dealt Fox a setback by ruling that claims the network aired about Dominion’s complicity in a nonexistent plot to rig the election against Trump are not protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which forms the bedrock of free speech law.
But Davis left it up for jurors to decide whether Fox knowingly spread false information or acted with reckless disregard for the truth – the legal standard of actual malice that Dominion must meet to prevail.
Fox said it was simply covering very newsworthy allegations. The coverage fed an ecosystem of misinformation surrounding Trump’s 2020 loss that has persisted ever since
A voting machine company’s defamation case against Fox News over its airing of false allegations about the 2020 presidential election will go to trial
The question could hinge upon troves of internal Fox communications and testimony by Murdoch, his son Lachlan, and a parade of Fox higher-ups and hosts who are expected to testify.
The defamatory statements aired on shows including Sunday Morning Futures, Lou Dobbs Tonight and Justice with Judge Jeanine.
Dominion alleges that Fox personnel from the newsroom to the boardroom knew the statements were false but continued to air them to avoid losing viewers to far-right outlets.
Dominion also cites evidence that some hosts and producers thought the guests spreading them, including former Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, were not credible.
Fox has argued Dominion falls short of pinning actual malice on the individuals who were responsible for the defamatory statements because it cannot prove any ‘superior officer’ at the network or its parent company ‘ordered, participated in, or ratified’ wrongdoing.
The network says scattered doubts about the claims among certain individuals cannot be attributed to the organization as a whole.