A group of some of the most well-known on-air personalities at Fox News will be made available for testimony as part of the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit that has been brought against it by Dominion Voting Systems.
This week, the media outlet said that personalities such as Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo and Sean Hannity would all potentially testify in the trial. Dominion has accused Fox News of lying about election fraud that happened during the 2020 presidential election.
Dominion is a company that provides voting machines, and Fox News claimed that many of those machines were rigged or manipulated.
On Tuesday, Fox News filed a letter with Delaware Superior Court, saying there are 11 people that the network has plans to make available for the trial, including those three hosts mentioned above.
The witness list Fox News submitted also includes Lou Dobbs, a former host on the network, as well as current hosts Jeanine Pirro, Dana Perino and Bret Baier. By making these people available, it’s possible that Dominion could end up calling them as witnesses to testify during the trial as well.
One person who’s not on the witness list is Rupert Murdoch, the chair of Fox Corp. – the parent company of Fox News – who is 92 years old.
The fact that these on-air personalities are on Fox News’ witness list suggests the trial could get heated and animated, to say the least. The trial has a scheduled start date of April 17. It’s expected to go on for roughly one month.
Dominion is trying to prove that the conservative media outlet ruined the reputation it had when it aired the false claims that former President Donald Trump, some of his lawyers and many others were making that the voting machines were being used as pawns by Democrats to steal the election for Democrat Joe Biden.
The company has said that text message chains, depositions and emails prove that Fox decided to air the false claims about the election machines so that they would boost their company profits, and at the same time keep some viewers from choosing other conservative media outlets such as OAN and Newsmax.
If Dominion wants to win its case, it’ll need to prove in court that, when it aired those sentiments, Fox News was acting with “actual malice.” This means that it spread the false information knowingly, or that it acted “with reckless disregard for the truth.”
In its filings, Fox News is arguing that the coverage it aired of the presidential election is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They say that’s because the claims of election fraud were inherently newsworthy because of who they were coming from.
They also claim that the hosts of its programs as well as the guests those hosts brought on had a constitutional right to express whatever their opinions might be.
Judge Eric Davis rejected almost all of the defense Fox was putting forth, though, and so he said late last week that the case Dominion has is strong enough that a jury trial was needed.