Media

Judge sanctions Fox News for withholding evidence in Dominion lawsuit

A judge in Delaware has sanctioned Fox News for withholding evidence in Dominion Voting Systems’ blockbuster lawsuit against the company just days before the matter is set to go to trial.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis expressed anger with the network’s lawyers and suggested he could order an investigation into an effort to withhold evidence from Dominion’s team as part of its process of discovery, according to a person in the courtroom during a pre-trail hearing on Wednesday.

Davis’s ruling came after lawyers for Dominion played a never-before revealed recording they obtained from former Fox producer Abby Grossberg of Rudy Giuliani, a top aide to former President Trump, speaking with Fox employees. Dominion’s lawyers said Grossberg has more recordings from her time inside Fox that she has shared with the company’s legal team.

Grossberg, who is also suing Fox and was fired by the network earlier this year, has said she was pressured by Fox’s lawyers to give false testimony in the Dominion case.

“They destroy people,” Grossberg, who worked as a producer for Maria Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson and other top hosts at the network, said during a recent television interview. “I realized that the answers that they wanted me to say were putting me in a very vulnerable position to be the company scapegoat.”

Grossberg had previously told Dominion’s lawyers in sworn depositions that she felt it wasn’t her responsibility to fact-check Trump’s false claims of voter fraud. 

“I made the decision to keep my job so that I can keep paying my bills. It seemed like the safer decision for me at the time,” she said in her testimony. 

The judge on Wednesday instructed Fox’s lawyers to preserve their communications, and his ruling could open Fox up to another round of discovery that could unearth more revelations about the inner workings at the cable news giant around the time of the election.

In a statement to The Hill on Wednesday, Fox said “as counsel explained to the Court, Fox produced the supplemental information from Ms. Grossberg when we first learned it.”

Dominion is accusing Fox of knowingly airing false information about its software, claims that were promoted by Trump, Giuliani and others.

Fox has defended itself on First Amendment grounds and has said the internal communications of its top hosts and executives have been “cherry picked” to drum up press coverage of the case.

Among the revelations made public through Dominion’s process of discovery were text messages from hosts like Tucker Carlson saying claims about electoral fraud were “insane” and an acknowledgement from Rupert Murdoch that some of the hosts on his network at the same time endorsed those claims. 

“Maybe Sean and Laura went too far,” Murdoch wrote to Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, according to the filing. “All very well for Sean to tell you he was in despair about Trump but what did he tell his viewers?”

Davis’s ruling comes the day after Dominion’s attorneys told the judge that they learned just this week that Rupert Murdoch, who could be called to testify as a witness in the case, also was an officer of Fox News, holding the title of executive chair. That was contrary to repeated assertions by Fox attorneys.

Fox said in a statement late Tuesday said “Rupert Murdoch has been listed as executive chairman of FOX News in our SEC filings since 2019 and this filing was referenced by Dominion’s own attorney during his deposition.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Updated at 4:17 p.m.

Tags Eric Davis Rudy Giuliani Rupert Murdoch

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