In a significant ruling, the judge presiding over the $1.6 billion lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News Corp. has determined that Dominion can force Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan to testify in court during a defamation trial later this month.

This decision is a major setback for Fox News, which had sought to prevent the Murdochs from testifying in person. Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis deemed their testimony “relevant” to the case, according to Axios.

As Axios reported, Rupert Murdoch’s February closed-door testimony did not go well for Fox News. During the session, he expressed doubt about false narratives surrounding election fraud from the outset. In order to win the lawsuit, Dominion must prove that Fox News knowingly disseminated false information. Fox News, on the other hand, contends that the First Amendment protects their right to cover stories and news.

Axios pointed out that “there’s a very high bar in being able to prove that Fox acted with ‘actual malice'” due to the strong protections the First Amendment offers news media. A Fox News spokesperson told Axios that Dominion’s demands for witnesses unrelated to the challenged broadcasts are part of their “political crusade in search of a financial windfall.”

Rupert Murdoch admitted during his February testimony that his network hosts attempted to balance conspiracy theories with calling out their falsehoods. He expressed a desire for the network to have taken a stronger stance against such theories in hindsight.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case alleging that Dominion Voting Systems and Facebook had undue influence on the 2020 elections. The court offered no explanation for its rejection of the appeal from eight Americans, led by Kevin O’Rourke, who had lost in two previous court appearances, as reported by Law & Crime.

The plaintiffs in the case alleged that Dominion’s voting software allowed for the manipulation of “hundreds of thousands of votes” due to widespread vulnerabilities in the 2020 election. They also claimed that Dominion’s voting systems were purposefully designed to create systemic fraud and influence election outcomes. Lower courts, however, rejected these arguments, asserting that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue and therefore did not present a case or controversy necessary for federal court jurisdiction under Article III.

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Sources: ConservativeBrief, Axios, Law&Crime

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