Several Fox News hosts, including Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, are being deposed as part of the massive defamation lawsuit brought forward by Dominion Voting Systems against the right-wing network, court documents show.
Carlson and Jeanine Pirro were deposed last week, while Fox Business host Lou Dobbs and Hannity were scheduled for questioning on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, according to court filings reviewed by The Washington Post. Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business will be deposed next week, according to CNN.
Dominion is also seeking testimony from current and former staff at the network, including now-CNBC host Shepard Smith, who resigned from Fox News in 2019, the Post said. Smith, who led the network’s breaking news division, had been a frequent target of Trump and Carlson for speaking out against the former president’s conspiracy theories, including when Trump reportedly pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate Hunter Biden.
Other current and former staff sought for deposition include former political editor and House Jan. 6 committee witness Chris Stirewalt; Jonah Goldberg, a former commentator who resigned in protest over Carlson’s “Patriot Purge” special on the insurrection; and “Fox and Friends” co-host Steve Doocy, who resisted Trump’s election lies, according to the Post.
When HuffPost asked for comment, the network did not directly address the depositions and called Dominion’s damages claims “outrageous.”
“We are confident we will prevail as freedom of the press is foundational to our democracy and must be protected, in addition to the damages claims being outrageous, unsupported and not rooted in sound financial analysis, serving as nothing more than a flagrant attempt to deter our journalists from doing their jobs,” read a statement from Fox News Media.
Daniel Webb, a lawyer on the network’s team, told the Post that Fox News was reporting “newsworthy” allegations.
“There are very few events in the last 50 years in this country that I think are more newsworthy than our president alleging that our entire Democratic system was put on its head by a voting machine company stealing votes,” Webb told the Post.
The voting machine company filed a $1.6 billion lawsuit against the network in March 2021 accusing Fox News of pushing baseless allegations that Dominion engaged in election fraud to steal the 2020 contest from former President Donald Trump, in an effort to prop up its ratings.
Some Fox News hosts pushed a debunked theory that Dominion manipulated the election result using voting machines made in Venezuela to steer elections in favor of Hugo Chavez, according to The Associated Press. The network also brought on guests, including Trump’s then-personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who kept pushing these allegations.
Fox News “sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process,” the lawsuit stated.
Fox News tried to get the lawsuit dismissed but failed after Delaware state court Judge Eric M. Davis ruled Dominion had provided enough evidence to show the conservative outlet may have amplified election fraud allegations against the Denver-based company despite knowing they were without merit.
Dominion has additional defamation suits underway against One America News Network, Newsmax Media Inc. and former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne.