Fox News has announced that some of its top personalities will be called to testify in a case against it. Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo and other on-air hosts at Fox News have been asked to appear in court to defend the cable television network against a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems. Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs and Bret Baier may be called as witnesses. Rupert Murdoch, the 92-year-old chair of Fox’s parent Fox Corp, is not on Fox’s witness list.
Dominion Voting Systems has claimed that Fox News has lied about the 2020 U.S. presidential election and has harmed the company’s reputation by making false claims about its voting machines. Fox has argued that its coverage was protected by the First Amendment, saying that election fraud claims were inherently newsworthy and its hosts and guests were entitled to express their opinions.
Fox Corp. stand accused of intentionally airing false information related to the election in the crucial months before Joe Biden was declared the winner in order to boost profit and keep their fan base from defecting to the right-wing outlets Newsmax and OAN. Smartmatic, another voting technology company, has also filed a separate lawsuit worth $2.7 billion asking for damages based on identical claims.
In order to prove its case, Dominion must establish that Fox had acted with actual malice, implying that the network knowingly spread false information or acted in reckless disregard for the truth. With top Fox News personalities slated to testify in court, the jury trial which is scheduled to begin on the 17th of April and is estimated to continue for about four weeks is sure to be a high-profile event.