Dominion Voting Systems, the election technology company that prominently figured into lies from former President Donald Trump and various allies of his about the last election, is pursuing an additional deposition of Fox host Jeanine Pirro amid its defamation lawsuit against Fox News.
Dominion is targeting Fox in court for its role in the spread of lies connected to the company and non-existent fraud. Among other examples, Sidney Powell — a far-right attorney closely affiliated with Trump — repeatedly appeared on Fox and pushed demonstrably false and only increasingly ludicrous claims about the 2020 election, with hosts like Pirro and Lou Dobbs (the latter of whom has since departed Fox) joining the crusade. Dominion is pursuing an additional deposition from Pirro in light of Fox apparently providing relevant texts some 13 hours before her first sit-down, which meant there wasn’t time to appropriately prepare questions related to the materials for the host. It’s not immediately clear what those messages might contain, although they apparently include missives from Pirro herself. Dominion is asking Delaware Judge Eric M. Davis to compel Pirro to appear for a second deposition in the sprawling case.
Besides Pirro’s first questioning, there have also been depositions of prominent hosts at Fox like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. Now, Dominion is also pursuing copies of employment contracts for top executives at the company and hosts including Carlson, Dobbs, Hannity, Pirro, and Maria Bartiromo. Obtaining the materials could potentially help Dominion with constructing arguments connecting the propagation of lies on Fox to financial considerations by executives and hosts, depending on the allocation of bonuses and the like, which could’ve been connected to certain viewership levels or something similar. “Dominion is presumably looking to examine how the executives’ compensation and bonuses are constructed, given those sharp ratings drops in late 2020,” NPR notes. Fox faced well-documented criticism from the Right after an early and accurate call of Arizona for Biden, and far-right alternatives like Newsmax and One America News rose in prominence.
In pursuing further answers from Pirro, Dominion — where personnel have faced death threats in connection to the delusional lies pushed by Trump and others, including on Fox — referenced a particular post-election episode of Pirro’s show featuring Powell. “She not only allowed Ms. Powell to air such nonsense, not only amplified it on her Justice with Judge Jeanine program,” Dominion’s attorneys wrote, per NPR, “[but] Ms. Pirro’s conduct and role in the spread of this disinformation lies at the heart of Dominion’s claims.”
Powell is also contributing to legal problems for Dobbs. Recently, a Manhattan judge allowed a defamation case from a Venezuelan businessman Powell baselessly named on Dobbs’s show as involved in imaginary election fraud to move forward and towards trial. Dominion already obtained large quantities of materials from Fox — including an email from a network producer concerned about Pirro pushing conspiracy theories related to the election — amid the discovery process, with that process moving towards a conclusion this month, although some portions could continue. The trial, at which Dominion will evidently be seeking some $1.6 billion in damages, is slated for next April. Dominion is also suing Powell, and another judge recently upheld that lawsuit, finding Powell in her counterclaim failed to make a credible case that Dominion perpetrated abuse of process. Her idea was that she was being targeted for political retribution.
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