Judge may force Rupert Murdoch to testify in Dominion defamation case
The judge in the Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation case against Fox News signaled his interest Wednesday in the duty that executives like Rupert Murdoch might have to stop known liars from going on-air, and suggested he might force Murdoch to testify.
Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis repeatedly pressed a Fox News lawyer about the role of top executives in the editorial process. His questions dovetailed with Dominion’s claim that Murdoch knowingly let Fox News hosts book guests that would lie about the 2020 election.
He asked Fox lawyers if Murdoch and other executives “had the power to stop” TV hosts from booking pro-Trump guests that they’ve deemed “problematic” because of their past election lies.
But Erin Murphy, who represents Fox News and its parent company, insisted that the Murdochs weren’t involved in the broadcasts where Dominion was potentially defamed. She argued that the voting machine company has fallen far short of proving that the Murdochs played any direct role, and thus they can’t be held liable.
“It’s not enough to show that (these executives) have the ability to step in,” Murphy said, telling the judge that “you have to bring it home to the person who is directly involved” and determine if “the one who makes the final call” acted with actual malice.
The voting systems company wants Davis to force Murdoch and his son, Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch, to testify at trial, which is set to begin next month. Fox opposes the request.