Fox News Chairman Rupert Murdoch will be questioned under oath today in a defamation lawsuit over his network’s coverage of baseless, false vote-rigging claims during the 2020 presidential election.
The Conservative media mogul may have to shell out in the defamation suit for spreading false claims.
Election technology company Dominion Voting Systems is seeking $1.6 billion in damages from Fox News Network. Dominion says Fox spread false claims its machines were used to rig the 2020 presidential election between Donald Trump, who lost, and Joe Biden, who won.
Fox News has argued that it had a right to report on Trump’s claims of vote manipulation and that Dominion’s lawsuit would stifle press freedom.
Dominion alleged in its March 2021 lawsuit that Fox amplified the false theories to boost its ratings and stay abreast of hard-right competitors including One America News Network, which Dominion is also suing.
The network made a bid to have the case tossed out a year ago, but in December 2021 a judge rejected that.
Murdoch, now aged 91, is the most high-profile figure to face questioning in the ongoing case. Murdoch’s high-stakes deposition on Tuesday comes as Dominion has spent the past several months questioning a parade of Fox News hosts, executives, and producers.
The case is part of a multi-front legal campaign by Dominion against Fox and other conservative outlets and commentators who accused the company of conspiring to oust Trump.
The deposition comes as special committees of the boards of directors for News Corp and Murdoch-controlled Fox Corp consider a proposal from Murdoch to re-combine, nearly a decade after the companies split.
Murdoch will be questioned via videoconference for two days, today and Wednesday, by lawyers for Dominion. The questioning sessions will not be open to the public.
Experts believe Dominion has an “air-tight” case for actual malice because Fox News’ hosts continued to make vote-rigging allegations well after it became clear the claims were demonstrably false.
The complaint cited instances where, in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, Trump allies like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell appeared on Fox News and falsely claimed Dominion software may have manipulated vote counts in favor of Biden.