Dominion Voting Systems wants to call Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, as well as some of Fox News’s most well-known hosts, to testify in its $1.6bn defamation lawsuit.
Dominion also wants to call Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, Bret Baier, Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro and Dana Perino to testify at trial, according to a Monday filing first reported by CNN.
Eric Davis, the Delaware judge overseeing the case, suggested on Tuesday he could compel Rupert Murdoch, 92, to appear live in court.
Dominion also wants to call Abby Grossman, a former Fox News employee suing the network who says she was coerced into giving misleading testimony; Suzanne Scott, the Fox News chief executive; Raj Shah, a Fox Corporation executive; and Paul Ryan, the former US House speaker who serves on the company’s board of directors.
Fox News said it wants to call Baier, Bartiromo, Dobbs, Hannity, Pirro, Perino and Scott as live witnesses.
In a statement in response to the Dominion request, Fox said: “Dominion’s needlessly expansive live witness list is yet another attempt to generate headlines and distract from the many shortcomings of its case.
“Ultimately, this case is about the first amendment protections of the media’s absolute right to cover the news.”
The jury trial, set to begin on 17 April, centers on whether Fox News knowingly broadcast false claims about Dominion equipment as Donald Trump and his allies sought to overturn the 2020 election.
Dominion has already produced stunning internal text messages showing Fox News employees were aware claims about Dominion rigging elections were false – and broadcast them anyway.
The case is being closely watched because of the extensive internal communications Dominion obtained from Fox News, in which employees bluntly and crudely call out the specious allegations about Dominion from Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, two Trump advisers and lawyers.
It is seen as one of the most aggressive efforts to hold anyone accountable for spreading misinformation after the 2020 election.
Fox News attorneys argued at a pretrial hearing earlier this month the network was reporting on newsworthy allegations from Trump and his lawyers and that reasonable viewers would not have understood them to be factual statements.
They also argued that top executives being sued by Dominion were not directly involved in news coverage and so cannot be held liable.
In a Tuesday afternoon hearing, attorneys argued over a few pretrial administrative matters. An attorney for Dominion revealed that Fox News had objected to every exhibit it had proposed to use at trial.
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