Judge says Fox News parent company must face Dominion libel suit over alleged role of Rupert Murdoch in spreading election lies

lachlan rupert murdoch

Lachlan Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch at Day 10 of the US Open held at the USTA Tennis Center on September 5, 2018 in New York City.Adrian Edwards/GC Images

  • A judge said Dominion’s libel suit against Fox News’ parent company may continue.

  • Dominion argued that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch believed Fox News would benefit by spreading election lies.

  • Delaware Judge Eric M. Davis said he had substantiated his case enough to make a factual discovery.

A Delaware judge said Tuesday that the parent company of Fox News must face a defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems, ruling that the election company’s allegations that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch had deliberately put forward election lies were well founded. to move the matter forward.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis ruled in December that: Dominion’s $1.6 Billion Lawsuit May Continue Against Fox News† The new decision dismissed a separate motion to dismiss Fox Corporation’s lawsuit, which is headed by its chairman, Rupert Murdoch, and his son, CEO Lachlan Murdoch.

According to David, Dominion has argued sufficiently that the parent company may also be liable for spreading falsehoods by claiming that Dominion manipulated the 2020 presidential election against then-President Donald Trump and in favor of current President Joe Biden.

“Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch allegedly made a ‘business calculation’ to spread the story of former President Trump through Fox News, even though they personally did not believe it,” Davis wrote, citing Dominion’s documents. “For example, Fox Corporation employees and officers would have ‘direct responsibility’ for broadcasting the statements about Dominion.”

At the same time, Davis removed Fox Broadcasting, the entity that runs fox.com, as a defendant in the case, because Dominion’s lawsuit was overly speculative about his role in perpetuating lies about his role in the election.

In legal filings, Dominion cited media reports that Fox News had “asked for and received the direct approval of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch before calling Arizona for Biden” — an election victory that drastically reduced Trump’s chances of victory. Over the following days, Fox News’ viewership plummeted dramatically as more fringe right-wing media organizations, Newsmax and One America News, gained popularity for denying the reality of Biden’s victory.

Dominion claimed that Fox Corporation executives believed that Fox News would benefit from endorsing former President Trump’s electoral fraud story and suffer if it did not.[ed]Fox News to “lure the Fox public home” and “encouraged” on-air personalities to perpetuate false claims about Dominion; and Fox Corporation “rewarded” those at Fox News who followed alleged instructions and “punished” those who didn’t,” Davis wrote, summarizing Dominion’s arguments.

Davis also noted that The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, two other media organizations under the control of the Murdoch family, “rejected President Trump’s claims and urged him to admit defeat,” which is “a reasonable conclusion supports that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch either knew Dominion had not manipulated the election or at least recklessly ignored the truth.” Dominion, Davis wrote, had argued sufficiently that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch were acting with “genuine malice” and should be subject to actual discovery in Dominion’s libel suit.

The decision comes as the House of Representatives continues to hold hearings over the January 6 uprising, where a mob of pro-Trump rioters tried to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 election results.

On TuesdayGeorgia election workers testified that they were terrorized by Trump supporters who believed they played a role in falsifying results, and the Republican Speaker of the Arizona State House said Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani knew there was no evidence of election manipulation.

Tuesday’s court ruling raises the stakes for Fox News’ legal battle over the falsehoods of the 2020 election. Dominion’s lawsuit will go to trial in April 2023. The company is separately facing a $2.7 billion lawsuit from Smartmatic, a rival election technology company that is also mired in election conspiracy theories. moving forward in New York

Fox News has argued that the lawsuits against it amount to an “attack on the First Amendment”. A representative of Fox Corporation did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Dominion and Smartmatic have also filed lawsuits against other media organizations and entities on election conspiracy theories, including Newsmax, One America News, Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Read the original article Business Insider

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