Rupert Murdoch, the Fox News host calling Donald Trump’s election fraud “crazy,” Dominion says in defamation filing; The network called the lawsuit “an attack on the First Amendment.”

Fox News hosts and executives, including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, did not believe Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud after the 2020 presidential election, but the network expanded the conspiracy theories as it worried about losing viewers to Newsmax, according to filings from Dominion Voting Systems on Thursday. made public.

For summary judgment in its $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox, with a redacted version released Thursday, Dominion made heavy use of text messages and emails from Fox personalities and employees claiming the network was well aware that guests such as Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani were allegedly was forged by (Read it here).

“Really crazy stuff,” Rupert Murdoch wrote a text about Giuliani on Nov. 19, according to the filing.

Dominion’s lawsuit, aired by Powell, Giuliani and others, and then advanced by Fox News personalities like Lou Dobbs, is over claims that it was involved in rigging the 2020 election results. The company claims the claims were made on air even though many at the network knew they were false.

In its filing, Dominion’s attorney wrote, “Fox knew the truth. It knew the allegations against Dominion were ‘outlandish’ and ‘crazy’ and ‘ridiculous’ and ‘nuts.’ Yet it used the power and influence of its platform to promote that false story. Fox knew better.”

In its own motion for summary judgment (read it here and here ), also made public, Fox claims that Dominion is taking an extreme and unsupported view of defamation law and cherry-picks quotes that lack context or are irrelevant to the case.

“A lot of noise and confusion will be created by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but at the heart of this case is freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights granted by the Constitution and protected by New York. Times v. Sullivan,” Fox said in a statement.

In its motion, Fox’s attorneys argued that Dominion’s lawsuit was an “attack on the First Amendment.” They said the network was covering something “like newsworthy”: an attempt by a sitting president to challenge the election results.

“As the story unfolded, and Dominion denied many of the allegations, Fox News covered those denials, including reporting Dominion’s position, giving Dominion an opportunity to state its side, and seeking disinterested third-party opinions on the allegations and their potential. to make a difference in the outcome of an election, sometimes in a debate-like format,” Fox’s attorney wrote.

Fox also filed an amended counterclaim on Thursday (read it here) that challenges the damages claim. In the counterclaim, Fox attorneys wrote that Dominion investor Staple Street Capital bought a controlling interest in Dominion at a “small fraction” of the amount sought in the lawsuit. Even under the most optimistic estimates, Staple Street could never value Dominion as a business anywhere near $1.6 billion. They wrote that “even under the most optimistic estimates, Staple Street could never have valued Dominion as a business anywhere near $1.6 billion.”

The trial is scheduled to begin in April in Delaware Superior Court, but the release of the motion offers a glimpse of what has become of both sides’ cases and discovery. Murdoch, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and a number of other dignitaries appeared to testify.

According to the filing, when Murdoch saw Giuliani and Powell at a Nov. 19 post-election news conference, he told Scott, “Terrible things are hurting everybody, I’m afraid.” Scott replied, “Yes Shawn and even Pyro agrees.” The latter was a reference to Janine Pirro, another Fox News host and staunch defender of Trump.

“Instead of calling out the truth, however, Fox continued to ‘harm everyone’ — not only continuing to invite those guests onto its shows but supporting those lies,” Dominion’s attorneys wrote. “Fox has deceived its viewers.”

Dominion’s filing highlights messages sent between Fox News personalities and executives in which they are concerned about losing viewers to Newsmax after the 2020 election. It began with Arizona’s Fox News call for Joe Biden on election night, angering the Trump White House, but giving the first sign that the president will lose the election.

Instead, in a series of retweets, Trump elevated Newsmax or One America News Network, two much smaller rivals to Fox, with many figures who were quick to embrace the president’s vote-rigging claims.

According to a Dominion filing, in an exchange with his producer, Alex Pfeiffer, Carlson wrote on Nov. 5, “We’ve worked really hard to make what we have. They are destroying our credibility. It makes me angry.” He said he spoke to Hannity and Ingraham and they were “very upset.” “At this point we’re getting hurt anyway.”

“It’s a tough needle to thread, but I really think many ‘on our side’ are being reckless demagogues right now,” Pfeiffer wrote.

Carlson replied, “Of course they are. We will not follow them.” He then added, “What [Trump is] Good advertising destroys things. He is its undisputed world champion. If we get it wrong, he can easily destroy us.”

More to come.

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