‘It’s a big scam’: Dominion uncovered ‘smoking gun’ evidence in case against Fox News, legal experts say


Fox News is in serious trouble.

That’s what several legal experts told CNN this week after Dominion Voting Systems’ explosive lawsuit against the right-wing talk channel, revealing that the network’s executives and hosts had privately criticized allegations of voter fraud publicized by Donald Trump’s team. , despite allowing lies about the 2020 contest to be promoted on its air.

While legal experts cautioned that they would like to see Fox News’ formal legal response to the lawsuit, all indicated in no uncertain terms that the evidence compiled in Dominion’s legal process poses a serious threat to the channel.

“It’s a huge blow,” said attorney Floyd Abrams of the Pentagon Papers, adding that the “recent revelations certainly put Fox in a more precarious position” in defending the First Amendment lawsuit.

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Rebecca Tushnet, Frank Stanton Professor of First Amendment Law at Harvard Law School, described the Dominion evidence as a “very strong” document that “clearly establishes the difference between what Fox was saying publicly and what important people from Fox were privately admitting.”

A set of behind-the-scenes messages included in the legal process showed Fox Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch called Trump’s allegations “really crazy stuff” and the cable network’s stars – including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham – they brutally mock the lies. being pressured by the ex-president’s camp claiming that the election was rigged.

It also showed attempts to crack down on fact-checking election lies. On one occasion, Carlson demanded that Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich be fired after she checked a tweet by Trump pushing allegations of voter fraud.

Tushnet said that in all her years of practicing and teaching law, she had never seen such overwhelming evidence collected in the pretrial phase of a defamation suit. “I don’t remember anything comparable to this,” Tushnet said. “Donald Trump seems to be very good at generating unprecedented situations.”

David Korzenik, an attorney who teaches First Amendment law and represents a range of media organizations, said the lawsuit showed that Dominion’s case against Fox News has serious teeth.

Korzenik emphasized that while the law allows for biased and classification-seeking behavior by the media, it does not allow the publication of material that is known to be false. The lawsuit, Korzenik said, “certainly puts Fox in the real crosshairs of malice and puts them in real danger.”

RonNell Andersen Jones, a professor and scholar of media law at the University of Utah, described the evidence as “pretty voluminous” and said that she, too, had never seen such evidence collected in a high-profile defamation case against an agency as large as Fox. .

“This is a pretty impressive summary,” Jones said. “The Dominion archive here is unique not only in the volume of evidence, but also in the objectivity of the evidence and the timing of the evidence.”

“This ‘out of the horse’s mouth’ evidence of knowing falsehood is not something we see very often,” added Jones. “When combined with the compelling storyline that Dominion is telling about motivation – the evidence that at least some of the key players in the organization were actively seeking to promote some voter denialism to win back departed viewers – this creates a strong real malice. plot.”

In a statement, Fox News accused Dominion of generating “noise and confusion,” adding: “The crux of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of expression, which are fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and protected by The New York Times. vs. Sullivan.

“Dominion mischaracterized the record, handpicked quotes stripped of key context, and spilled considerable ink on facts that are irrelevant under tenets of defamation law,” the network said. “His motion for summary judgment takes an extreme and unsupported view of libel law and relies on an accounting of facts that has no basis in the records.”

But lawyers said Dominion’s lawsuit showed it had built a powerful case against Fox.

“A plaintiff’s attorney’s dream is what Dominion claims to have here,” Jones said, “irrefutable internal statements both acknowledging the lie and deciding to proceed with its perpetuation.”

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