Ruppert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation
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Fox News has apologized to the Delaware judge presiding over the Dominion Voting Systems trial for failing to properly define the official role of the chairman of Fox Corp. Rupert Murdoch within the network, according to a letter filed with the court.
“We understand the Court’s concerns, apologize for them, and are committed to communicating clearly and fully with the Court in the future,” Fox attorney Blake Rohrbacher wrote Friday.
Dominion Voting Systems sued for defamation against Fox and its television networks, Fox News and Fox Business, in March 2021, arguing that its hosts pushed false allegations that Dominion’s voting machines were rigged in the 2020 presidential election which saw President Joe Biden triumphing over former President Donald Trump.
Fox’s apology comes on the eve of the trial, which is due to begin on Monday. Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis expressed his frustration with the network on Tuesday for its failure to accurately disclose 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 executive chairman of Fox News.
“That’s a problem,” Davis said, according to a court transcript. “I need to feel comfortable when you represent something to me that is the truth.”
Wednesday Davis sanctioned fox to withhold evidence and would have said if depositions or anything else had to be redone, it would have a cost to the company.
“It was a misunderstanding,” Fox attorney Blake Rohrbacher wrote in the letter. “We should have informed the Court after the hearing on April 5 with a full response, and we should have taken care before the hearing to ensure that our written submissions reflected all the corporate titles listed for the persons in question for the two Fox entities.”
Once the lawsuit begins, Fox will have to pay to defend itself against Dominion’s claims and, if it loses, pay Dominion potential damages up to $1.6 billion. Regardless of the outcome, an appeal is likely.
Fox, who denied Dominion’s claims and said he was protected by the First Amendment, objected to the amount of damages sought by the voting machine maker. Davis recently said it would be up to a jury to decide the issue.
– CNBC’s Lillian Rizzo contributed to this report.