Fox Hit With Court Sanctions For Withholding Information In Dominion Libel Lawsuit

It doesn’t look like Fox News is going to get away with badmouthing Dominion Voting Systems for weeks following Donald Trump’s unsurprising loss in the 2020 election. Evidence already handed over to Dominion in its libel lawsuit shows many Fox News executives — as well as anchors and commentators — were aware the claims were false but chose to give them airtime anyway.
That led to the recent decision in a Delaware state court where the judge made two key determinations before allowing the lawsuit to move into the jury trial phase. First, the judge said the statements made about Dominion by Fox and its personalities were so obviously damaging to Dominion’s business prospects that there was no need for the company to prove it had been harmed.
More importantly, the judge removed any doubt about the veracity of the Fox statements Dominion is suing over:

The evidence developed in this civil proceeding demonstrates that is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.

So, actual malice then, if Dominion can show the false statements were made by people fully aware the things they were saying were false.
But Fox can’t get to the trial it never wanted without tripping over itself. As pretty much everywhere reports (going with NBC News for this first bit), Fox has been sanctioned by the court for withholding information it was required to turn over during discovery.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis on Wednesday sanctioned Fox News and its parent company, Fox Corp., for withholding evidence in the Dominion defamation suit and said he’s considering further investigation and censure.
One of Grossberg’s attorneys, Parisis G. Filippatos, said that lawyers for Dominion Voting Systems played recordings Fox News producer Abby Grossberg made during 2020, which were not handed over to Dominion’s lawyers during discovery.

These recordings — the ones not handed over to Dominion — add even more ammo to Dominion’s already ample stockpile. They’re pre-interview recordings, ones in which Rudy Giuliani admits he doesn’t have any evidence backing his Dominion claims (Giuliani is also being sued by Dominion). Nor does he have any evidence linking Nancy Pelosi to Dominion.
A second recording features a Trump campaign official telling a Fox producer “there weren’t any physical issues with [voting] machines” inspected in Georgia by election officials following Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud and other bogus conspiracy theories.
The judge isn’t happy. The sanctions (for now) include an opportunity for Dominion to engage in a second round of depositions at Fox’s expense. The special master overseeing the discovery process that Fox apparently circumvented now has a new task: to see if there are any other discovery violations and recommend additional sanctions if more misconduct is revealed.
This isn’t the only deception by Fox currently displeasing this court. The Associated Press reports that Fox hastily tried to slide something in over the recent holiday weekend — an admission that’s crucial to part of Dominion’s case, that being whether or not Fox Corporation itself can be held liable for these defamatory claims.

Fox Corp. had asserted since Dominion filed its lawsuit in 2021 that Rupert Murdoch had no official role at Fox News. In its filings, it had listed Fox News officers as Suzanne Scott, Jay Wallace and Joe Dorrego. But on Easter Sunday, Fox disclosed to Dominion’s attorneys that Murdoch also is “executive chair” at Fox News. The disclosure came after Superior Court Judge Eric Davis wondered aloud during a status conference last week who Fox News’ officers were.
Davis was clearly disturbed by the disclosure, coming on the eve of the trial.
“My problem is that it has been represented to me more than once that he is not an officer,” the judge said.

The judge suggested that had this been disclosed sooner, his recent decision might not have left the question of Fox Corp.’s participation in alleged libel up to the jury to decide.
As goes Fox News, so go its legal reps:

To Fox attorney Matthew Carter, Davis said: “You have a credibility problem.”

This opens Rupert Murdoch to Dominion’s discovery efforts, since he’s apparently more involved with Fox News than previously disclosed. Meanwhile, the legal team that’s currently irritating the court continues to pretend it’s on the up-and-up, claiming this information has been in SEC filings since forever and that it was unaware of recordings made by its producers until after they surfaced in another lawsuit against Fox News.

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