Rupert Murdoch, the former chairman of Fox and News Corp., is set to be deposed Tuesday and Wednesday in connection with the $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit filed by voting technology company Smartmatic.
The suit alleges that Fox News and its parent company were responsible for amplifying damaging lies about the 2020 U.S. presidential election, including claims that Smartmatic was involved in an election vote rigging scheme.
Murdoch is expected to be deposed in Los Angeles, despite his name not appearing on the public docket for the case, according to Reuters, citing a source close to the situation.
Back in April, Fox Corp. reached a last-minute $787.5 million settlement in a similar defamation case with Dominion Voting Systems, just before Murdoch was expected to testify.
The Fox News founder, 92, who stepped down from his role as chairman earlier this month, had already been deposed in that case, and admitted that some of Fox News’ hosts had “endorsed” Donald Trump’s false election claims.
Murdoch, however, is not individually named in the current suit, which instead takes aim at Fox hosts Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro, and Lou Dobbs, whose show was canceled from the Fox Business Network just one day after Smartmatic’s lawsuit was filed.
Smartmatic is seeking damages from the three Fox hosts, in addition to Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell, both of whom frequently appeared on Fox programs around the time of the election and served as lawyers for former President Donald Trump.
Attorneys for Smartmatic have alleged that Murdoch “did not believe the election fraud claims but encouraged Fox News Network to embrace the disinformation as a tool to win back the audience.”
Fox Corp. attorneys countered that “while Smartmatic alleges that Rupert Murdoch occasionally provided suggestions on possible guests and what content shows might cover, Smartmatic does not allege any facts suggesting that he played any affirmative or active role in directing the specific Fox News or Fox Business shows to host Giuliani or Powell or cover their allegations about Smartmatic.”
The network previously claimed it had the right to report on allegations of voter fraud, which was protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment for freedom of the press.