Top Fox execs, show hosts privately doubted guests' claims of stolen 2020 election, court docs

The concerns were made public in a court filing related to Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation suit against the Fox News Channel.
Fox News

Influential Fox News Channel opinion-show hosts and top executives engaged in hand-wringing over what they thought were  conspiracy theories being made on their airways by allies of Donald Trump regarding the 2020 election, according to internal emails, text messages and depositions excerpted in a new court filing.

"Sidney Powell is lying," prime-time host Tucker Carlson wrote to a producer about the Trump lawyer, who claimed voting technology companies "flipped" Trump votes to Biden, according toThe Washington Post, which reviewed the filings released Thursday.

The concerns appear to have reached the highest level of Fox, including company founder Rupert Murdoch, who wrote about claims by Powell and fellow Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani, saying, "Terrible stuff damaging everybody."

The messages are part of the internal correspondence and deposition testimony released Thursday in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against the network filed by Dominion Voting Systems, one of two election software companies that became the target of the alleged conspiracy theories, the newspaper also reports.

The filings are in Delaware Superior Court ahead of the trial that is set for April and appear intended to fortify Dominion’s argument that Fox’s leadership was aware the election-fraud claims were untrue but still "spread and endorsed" them.

Fox News in a statement to the newspaper downplayed the revelations, saying they included "cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context."

"There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private-equity owners," a Fox spokesperson said, "But the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech."

In the correspondence, there also appears to have been concerns among the Fox staff, including correspondent Lucas Tomlinson writing to news anchor Bret Baier about "dangerously insane" election claims.

Fox has also filed a counterclaim made public Thursday in which it argues Dominion’s $1.6 billion demand has no factual support and that the company is "in a solid financial position," amid its argument that its value was destroyed by Fox guests’ false claims of fraud.