Fox News hosts Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro and Lou Dobbs have all been deposed over allegations they perpetuated election fraud lies and damaged the reputation of Dominion Voting by hosting friends and advocates of Donald Trump on-air.
Dominion filed a lawsuit against Fox News in March last year, alleging the network deliberately spread a false narrative that its machines and counting systems were rigged in favor of President Joe Biden.
It was a story that every news outlet in the world covered, but Dominion claims that Fox gave a particularly sympathetic ear to Trump’s claims.
Carlson and Pirro were deposed last week whereas Dobbs was deposed yesterday. Hannity is due to be questioned today, and Maria Bartiromo will be questioned next week.
Dominion’s attorneys claim that even if they didn’t push the narrative themselves that the election was rigged, they gave way to the idea by allowing Sidney Powell, Trump’s attorney, and Rudy Giuliani, his long-time advisor, on-air to talk about it.
Fox is fighting the lawsuit and has repeatedly tried to have it thrown out, claiming the journalists were just doing their jobs and covering the election fraud claims like any other news outlets.
Prior to the examples laid out by Dominion, Fox’s hosts had been skeptical of Trump’s election claims and critical of his refusal to accept the election result.
Dominion’s lawyers say that it turned pro-Trump viewers off.
In what they describe as a deliberate U-turn of the coverage to win those viewers back, Dominion says show hosts started sympathetically covering the election fraud claims.
Dominion’s lawyers also say they have proof that the hosts knew it wasn’t true. That proof is in emails and texts they say shows the journalists and producers discussing it off-air with far more skepticism than they ever did on-air.
Fox insists to DailyMail.com that those emails and texts have been taken out of context.
None of the individual hosts are named as defendants in the suit, which asks for $1.6billion to restore Dominion’s reputation.
The voting company claims it will never be able to recover from the tarnish of Trump’s repeated claims that its machines were rigged to count votes for him as votes for Biden.
‘Fox gave life to a manufactured storyline about election fraud that cast a then little-known voting machine company called Dominion as the villain.
‘After the November 3, 2020, Presidential Election, viewers began fleeing Fox in favor of media outlets endorsing the lie that massive fraud caused President Trump to lose the election.
‘They saw Fox as insufficiently supportive of President Trump, including because Fox was the first network to declare that Trump lost Arizona.
‘Fox set out to lure viewers back – including President Trump himself – by intentionally and falsely blaming Dominion for President Trump’s loss by rigging the election.’
Fox News told DailyMail.com in a statement: ‘We are confident we will prevail as freedom of the press is foundational to our democracy and must be protected, in addition to the damages claims being outrageous, unsupported and not rooted in sound financial analysis, serving as nothing more than a flagrant attempt to deter our journalists from doing their jobs.”’
The lawsuit points to multiple shows in November 2020 where pro-Trump guests were interviewed.
Dobbs hosted Trump lawyer Sidney Powell repeatedly, as did Jeanine Pirro.
Rudy Giuliani was interviewed, as was Mike Tindall – the CEO of MyPillow and a die-hard Trump fan and donor.
The lawsuit claims they ‘repeatedly published defamatory falsehoods about Dominion including by broadcasting and rebroadcasting the defamatory falsehoods of its on-air personalities Maria Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, and their chosen guests’.
Fox isn’t the only network being sued by Dominion.
The Colorado-based company has also taken legal action against OAN (One America Network) and Newsmax, along with individuals including Giuliani, Mike Lindell and Sidney Powell.
A trial date has been set for next April for the case to proceed.
Fox has hired hot shot trial lawyer Dan Webb, who successfully prosecuted actor Jussie Smollett for lying to police about being the victim of a race hate attack.
He told The Washington Post: ‘There are very few events in the last 50 years in this country that I think are more newsworthy than our president alleging that our entire Democratic system was put on its head by a voting machine company stealing votes.’