Rupert Murdoch is slated to answer questions in the second major defamation case filed by a voting technology company against Fox Corp. regarding the coverage of the 2020 election results, Reuters reported Tuesday.
Smartmatic accuses the network and its on-air talent of creating a false narrative about the company to bolster their baseless accusations of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. It says Fox and its hosts knowingly spread false claims that the company’s software “flipped” votes to Democrat Joe Biden from Republican Donald Trump.
The 92-year-old Murdoch, who stepped down as chairman of Fox and News Corp. in September, will be deposed in Los Angeles in the $2.7 billion suit brought by Smartmatic that also targets former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who served as lawyers for Trump after he claimed the 2020 vote was “rigged.”
It’s a separate suit from the case brought after the 2020 election by Dominion Voting Systems, a different voting machine company that settled with Fox in April for $787.5 million as the case was set to go to trial. As part of that settlement, Fox issued a statement, “We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false.”
Fox, however, continues to deny the allegations made by Smartmatic.
Fox’s top lawyer when the Dominion deal was reached, Viet Dinh, will depart the company in December. He will be replaced by conservative attorney Adam Ciongoli.
Dominion’s second case, against right-wing news outlet Newsmax, is set to start in September 2024, as the presidential race heats up.
Fox unsuccessfully fought to have the Smartmatic case dismissed shortly after it was filed in early 2021. That effort was rejected by a New York State court in February.
An attorney for Smartmatic complained in April that Fox was attempting to “withhold discovery” in the litigation.
Murdoch’s deposition in the Dominion case contained a number of embarrassing revelations, including that he and the on-air hosts knew the stolen-election narrative was a lie, while separate materials released by Dominion showed that multiple hosts, including Pirro and Bartiromo were privately horrified that the network was pushing what’s become known as the “Big Lie,” but went on-air with it anyway.
In court papers and prior statements, Fox has maintained that the network had a right to report on highly newsworthy allegations of voter fraud and that its broadcasts were protected by the First Amendment.
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