Judge willing to force Rupert Murdoch to testify in $1.6bn Fox News case | Fox News

A judge in Delaware on Wednesday said Dominion Voting Systems can compel Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch to testify in the election machines company’s $1.6bn defamation suit against Fox News.

If Dominion files the appropriate subpoena, Judge Eric M Davis said, “I would not quash it and I would compel them to come.”

The trial is due to start on 17 April. Testimony from the Murdochs promises to be dramatic. A series of explosive court filings have already exposed messages sent by the two Murdochs, other senior executives and leading Fox News hosts.

Dominion says the messages show Fox News broadcast conspiracy theories and lies about its work on US elections, pushed by Donald Trump and his allies in their attempt to overturn his 2020 defeat by Joe Biden, despite knowing such claims to be untrue.

Fox says it was presenting allegations made by public figures that reasonable viewers would not take for statements of fact.

It also claims that victory for Dominion would chill press and free-speech protections under the first amendment to the US constitution.

Dominion has previously said it wants to call Rupert Murdoch, the 92-year-old Fox Corporation chairman, and Lachlan Murdoch, his 51-year-old son and chief executive.

The two men were not among potential witnesses for this month’s trial named by Fox in a letter on Tuesday.

In its own letter the next day, Dominion told Davis that Fox had previously conceded the Murdochs, former US House speaker Paul Ryan (a Fox board member) and Viet Dinh (Fox’s chief legal and policy officer) could be compelled to testify live.

Introducing a subsequent hearing, Davis said: “Mr Dinh, Mr Rupert Murdoch and Mr Lachlan Murdoch and Paul Ryan, they fall within the directors, officers, managing agents of a corporation, a Delaware corporation. And both parties have made these these witnesses very relevant.

“So it’s not like the cases where the judges excused bringing officers and directors.”

Explaining why the four witnesses would need to appear in person, Davis continued: “Corporations don’t raise their hand on the stand. Their officers and directors raise their hand on the stand. It’s the only way to get a corporation to testify.

“… If Dominion wants to bring [the four witnesses] live, they need to do a trial subpoena and I would not quash it and I would compel them to come.

“I know it’s difficult. I know they have very large workloads and other focuses, but maybe we can work on trying to put the least amount of inconvenience on them as possible.”

In its letter on Wednesday, Dominion also said it planned “to bring all of the witnesses Fox lists in its letter live in its case”.

Such witnesses include the Fox News chief executive, Suzanne Scott; opinion hosts Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs; and the news anchors Bret Baier and Dana Perino.

In a statement, Fox News said: “Dominion clearly wants to continue generating misleading stories from their friends in the media to distract from their weak case. Demanding witnesses who had nothing to do with the challenged broadcasts is just the latest example of their political crusade in search of a financial windfall.”

Citing recent provisions for Elon Musk in a trial concerning his pay as chief executive of Tesla, Judge Davis told lawyers he needed to know any security needs for witnesses coming to Delaware to testify.

( Information from politico.com was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )

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