Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation
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Fox News apologized to the Delaware judge presiding over Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit for failing to properly define the formal role of Fox Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch, according to a letter filed with the court.
“We understand the court’s concerns, apologize and are committed to clear and full communication with the court,” Fox attorney Blake Rohrbacher wrote in the letter on Friday.
Dominion Voting Systems filed its defamation lawsuit against Fox and its Fox News and Fox Business television networks in March 2021, arguing its hosts made false claims that Dominion’s voting machines were tampered with in the 2020 presidential election, in which President Joe Biden spoke about the former president triumphed Donald Trump.
Fox apologizes on the eve of the trial, which is set to begin Monday. Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis on Tuesday expressed frustration with the network for not properly disclosing Murdoch’s leadership role there. Fox lawyers had repeatedly claimed that Murdoch had no official title at Fox News, only to later reveal that he served as Fox News’ Executive Chair.
“That’s a problem,” Davis said, according to the court transcript. “I need to feel comfortable when you represent something that is the truth for me.”
On Wednesday, Davis sanctioned Fox for withholding evidence and reportedly said if statements or anything else had to be repeated there would be a cost to the company.
“That was a misunderstanding,” Fox attorney Blake Rohrbacher wrote in the letter. “We should have updated the court with a full response after the April 5 hearing, and we should have taken care prior to the hearing that our written submissions reflect all listed company titles for the individuals at issue for both Fox entities .”
Fox is defending Dominion claims that could result in over $1.6 billion in damages. Regardless of the outcome, an appeal is likely.
Fox, which has rejected Dominion’s claims and said it is protected by the First Amendment, has opposed the amount of damages the voting machine maker is seeking. Davis recently said it was up to a jury to decide the matter.
— CNBC’s Lillian Rizzo contributed to this report.
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