Fox host Maria Bartiromo is joining those getting deposed amid a massive defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems against Fox.
The company responsible for the defamation case, which is behind technology for use in conducting elections, was the subject of numerous pro-Trump conspiracy theories about what supposedly happened during the last presidential election, despite the complete lack of real-world evidence Dominion was involved in (imaginary) systematic fraud. Bartiromo’s deposition amid the Dominion case is scheduled for September 8. Bartiromo was personally responsible for some of the spread via Fox of conspiracy theories about Dominion. The company’s lawsuit says Bartiromo kept providing air-time for conspiracy theories regarding the company’s role in imaginary fraud “even though she had been specifically notified that independent fact-checkers, government officials and election security experts debunked those lies.”
Other prominent figures at Fox on the list of those who have been or will be deposed include Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. Lou Dobbs, a former Fox host whose show was abruptly cancelled after elections technology company Smartmatic filed another defamation lawsuit against Fox connected to the 2020 presidential election that also named Dobbs, was also called for a deposition amid Dominion’s case. Dominion already obtained months of texts and emails from Fox personnel. For now, the Dominion case is seemingly heading for trial. “There have been no moves from either side to discuss a possible settlement, people with knowledge of the case have said,” according to a report in The New York Times dated August 25. Predictably, Fox is trying to rely on broad protections for free speech in making its defense.
In March, a New York judge allowed for most of Smartmatic’s case, excluding claims against Jeanine Pirro, to proceed. (The Smartmatic case also identifies Bartiromo, a close Trump ally, as a defendant.) The New York judge indicated Smartmatic established its case to a sufficient extent at that point in the proceedings. “Fox News attempts to distance itself from the allegedly defamatory statements made by Powell and Giuliani by claiming that it repeatedly asked those defendants for proof substantiating their accusations about plaintiffs and they failed to produce any,” a ruling notes. “However, this fact can also support plaintiffs’ claim that Fox News had reason to suspect that what it was broadcasting was false, and nevertheless continued to allow Powell and Giuliani to appear on its network, specifically on shows hosted by Dobbs, Bartiromo, and Pirro, to promote completely unfounded claims that plaintiffs’ software enabled President Biden to steal the election.”
In other words, if the network was so concerned about Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell proving their claims, why were they on air? Notably, Smartmatic mostly wasn’t even used in the U.S. during the 2020 elections, despite the company popping up in conspiracy theories. “Even assuming that Fox News did not intentionally allow this false narrative to be broadcasted, there is a substantial basis for plaintiffs’ claim that, at a minimum, Fox News turned a blind eye to a litany of outrageous claims about plaintiffs, unprecedented in the history of American elections, so inherently improbable that it evinced a reckless disregard for the truth,” the New York judge added.