The judge overseeing Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against Fox News said on Wednesday that he was imposing a sanction on the network and would very likely start an investigation into whether Fox’s legal team had deliberately withheld evidence, scolding the lawyers for not being “straightforward” with him.
The rebuke came after lawyers for Dominion, which is suing for defamation, revealed a number of instances in which Fox’s lawyers had not turned over evidence in a timely manner. That evidence included recordings of the Fox News host Maria Bartiromo talking with former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, which Dominion said had been turned over only a week ago.
In imposing a sanction on Fox, Judge Eric M. Davis of the Delaware Superior Court ruled that if Dominion had to do additional depositions or redo any already done that “Fox will do everything they can to make the person available, and it will be at a cost to Fox.”
He also said he would very likely appoint a special master to investigate Fox’s handling of discovery of documents and the question of whether Fox had inappropriately withheld details about Rupert Murdoch’s role as a corporate officer of Fox News.
Dominion, a voting technology company, accused Fox and some of the network’s executives and hosts of smearing its reputation by linking it in a series of broadcasts to a baseless conspiracy of mass voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Fox said that it was just reporting on newsworthy allegations from Mr. Trump, who was then the president, as well as his lawyers and supporters.
The trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, with jury selection starting on Thursday. It wasn’t immediately clear that Dominion would avail itself of the judge’s ruling that its lawyers could conduct additional depositions.
The judge told Fox’s lawyers to retain all internal communications between themselves relating to the officer issue from the time of March 20. He said he would weigh whether any additional sanctions should be put on Fox. [Continue reading…]