Dominion Voting Systems’ upcoming defamation trial against Fox News and Fox Corp., scheduled to begin on April 17, may very well feature a parade of the network’s news personalities taking the stand, with both sides in the case planning to call figures including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Bret Baier.
They are among the personalities and executives appearing on both parties proposed live witness lists, filed in Delaware Superior Court on Monday. Also named: Maria Bartiromo, Dana Perino and Jeanine Pirro, as well as former host Lou Dobbs. Also listed: Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, Fox News president Jay Wallace, COO and CFO Joe Dorrego, executive vice president Meade Cooper, Tucker Carlson Tonight senior executive producer Justin Wells and Fox Business Network president Lauren Petterson. Also listed are Dominion CEO John Poulos, CFO Michael McGee and State Street Capital co-founder Hootan Yaghoobzadeh.
Dominion lists Fox Corp. chair Rupert Murdoch and CEO Lachlan Murdoch on its live witness list, but Fox’s side has them marked down to appear via video deposition testimony. Dominion also names fired producer Abby Grossberg as a live witness, but Fox has her on its deposition list. She has filed suit against the network, claiming that she was coerced by Fox lawyers in her testimony, and she is seeking to amend it. Fox said that she was dismissed for failing to protect privileged company information, and said that her lawsuit was “riddled with false allegations.”
Dominion also lists former House Speaker Paul Ryan, a board member of Fox Corp., as a live witness, while Fox has him for video deposition testimony. Both sides also list Bill Gates as a deposition witness.
The lists are included with both sides’ proposed pre-trial stipulation and order, which must be approved by the judge, Eric M. Davis. He is holding a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday afternoon, where a number of issues for the pending trial are expected to be raised.
Last week, Davis told attorneys that he faced limits on compelling witnesses to testify so “don’t ask me to issue a subpoena.” But he also signaled that he did not want a witness appearing via video deposition expert and, as a follow up, via live and in person testimony. He did raise the prospect of some Zoom testimony.
Typically witness lists are ultimately pared down by the time of a trial, due to time constraints and a judge’s ruling. Davis is estimating a trial of 25 business days, or 137.5 hours. “That is, if everything works perfectly,” he said.
Dominion accuses Fox of amplifying and endorsing false claims that the voting systems company rigged the 2020 presidential election results. The network contends that it was merely covering and commenting on “undeniably newsworthy allegations” by Donald Trump and his lawyers.
Davis has yet to issue a ruling on each side’s motions for summary judgment.
More to come.