When Dominion Voting System’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News goes to trial on April 17, jurors will not hear evidence or testimony related to the January 6 riot at the Capitol, the Associated Press reported this week.
During a hearing in Delaware Superior Court on Wednesday, Judge Eric Davis, who is presiding over the case, said he did not see the Capitol riot as “relevant” to the lawsuit. He said only one of the challenged on-air statements was made after January 6, 2021, and it contained no mention of the riot.
The statement in question was from a January 26 broadcast of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” in which MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell said he was a victim of “cancel culture” and claimed that he found evidence of “machine fraud.”
Judge Davis said what the parties in the lawsuit “were thinking in January” 2021 is “not relevant” to what happened in November and December 2020. He said Fox News “is not the cause of January 6 in its relation to Dominion.” He concluded that the January 6 riot is a “really big issue” the trial should stay away from.
Judge Davis also said he would compel Fox Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch and other Fox executives to testify if they are subpoenaed by Dominion.
On Tuesday, Fox filed a letter with the court listing the 11 people it would make available to testify in the trial, including on-air personalities Maria Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson, and Sean Hannity. But not included in Fox’s list were Rupert Murdoch and his son, Fox News CEO Lachlan Murdoch.
Before Wednesday’s hearing, Dominion filed a letter with the court urging Judge Davis to compel the Murdochs, along with Fox board member Paul Ryan and Fox’s chief legal and policy officer Viet Dinh, to testify in person.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the judge said Fox News and Dominion both made the Murdochs, Ryan, and Viet Dinh “very relevant” to the case and if Dominion decides to subpoena them, he would do nothing to quash the subpoenas but “compel them to come.”