NEW YORK — Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Bret Baier are among the stars who have been signaled by both Fox News and the voting machine company they are suing for defamation that they could testify when the case goes to trial next month.
They are among the names put forward as potential witnesses by Fox and Dominion Voting Systems this week, although that doesn’t guarantee they’ll appear in court. It is not yet certain whether there will be a court hearing. Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis is expected to return a summary judgment in favor of either side or proceed with a trial.
Dominion has accused Fox of making false claims that the company was involved in voter fraud during the 2020 election, though many on the network doubted the claims were true. Fox says it lawfully reported newsworthy developments.
Carlson, Hannity and Baier all privately worried after the election that Fox’s early declaration that Democrat Joe Biden had won key Arizona state damaged the network in the eyes of viewers who supported former President Donald Trump, like emerges from documents revealed as part of the election case.
Fox submitted the names of 35 potential witnesses to the court this week, while Dominion offered 54 names. Dominion’s roster included Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan, Fox Corp. chief executive officer. Dominion has also reserved the right to call former House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is on the Fox Corp. board of directors. sits.
Fox has suggested that what 92-year-old Rupert Murdoch has already given in testimony would suffice.
Davis noted in a court hearing on Tuesday that Murdoch had recently become engaged and spoke of traveling to his various estates around the country.
“That doesn’t sound like someone who can’t go from New York to Wilmington,” said Davis, who is authorized under Delaware law to appoint Murdoch as a director of Fox Corp. to bring to justice.
Matthew Carter, an attorney for the Fox defendants, said they had not argued that Murdoch was infirm or unfit to travel. Rather, Carter said there was no reason to force him to testify live if he had been under oath for seven hours when he testified.
The Colorado-based Dominion also said it wanted former Fox News producer Abby Grossberg to testify. Grossberg has filed a lawsuit against Fox, alleging his attorneys trained them to make misleading statements when questioned in testimony in the Dominion case. Fox denied it and fired Grossberg last Friday.
In a statement, Fox said Dominion’s “unnecessarily voluminous” witness list was “another attempt to grab headlines and distract from the many flaws in his case. Ultimately, what is at stake in this case is the First Amendment’s protection of the media’s absolute right to report the news.”
In response, Dominion said it believes in the First Amendment, but it “does not shield broadcasters who knowingly or recklessly spread lies.”
Also on Tuesday, the judge granted a joint motion by both sides to allow each side six challenges in jury selection instead of the usual three. Davis ruled on Fox’s side that there would be six alternate jurors. rule sought 12.
• Chase reported from Dover, Del.
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