Maria Bartiromo will be deposed in defamation case against Fox News

·3 min read
Maria Bartiromo joined Fox News in 2014 after a 20 year run at CNBC.
Maria Bartiromo joined Fox News in 2014 after a 20-year run at CNBC.

Maria Bartiromo will be the next Fox News star to appear for a deposition in Dominion Voting Systems' defamation case against the network over its airing of false claims made about the company during 2020 presidential election coverage.

According to a filing in Superior Court in Delaware, Bartiromo is scheduled to give her deposition on Sept. 8 as the lawsuit filed last year by Dominion moves forward. The maker of electronic voting software and hardware headquartered in Toronto and Denver is seeking $1.6 billion in damages in the closely watched defamation case.

Bartiromo is anchor of "Mornings with Maria," a daily program on Fox Business Network. She also hosts "Sunday Morning Futures," one of the most watched weekend programs on Fox News.

She is among the Fox program hosts who allowed former President Trump’s allies and lawyers Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sidney Powell to promote disproven theories that the election was stolen with Dominion’s assistance in rigging the results.

Dominion's lawsuit said Bartiromo continued to feature voter fraud claims made about the company "even though she had been specifically notified that independent fact-checkers, government officials and election security experts debunked those lies.”

Other Fox News personalities called to give depositions include prime-time star and Trump confidant Sean Hannity, who is scheduled to appear Wednesday, and the network's top-rated provocateur, Tucker Carlson, who sat for questioning last week.

The court has also called Lou Dobbs, who is named as a defendant. Dobbs is a former host of a nightly opinion program on Fox Business Network on which many conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 election were presented.

Meade Cooper, who oversees prime-time opinion programming on Fox News, has also been called, along with other executives.

Dominion has stated in court filings that it intends to show Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan, the top officers at Fox News parent Fox Corp., were allowing falsehoods about voter fraud on the network's programming even though they knew that Trump had lost the election.

The Murdochs and Fox News Media Chief Executive Suzanne Scott have not yet been asked to appear for depositions.

Fox News is expected to counter that the news division’s reporting on the allegations of voter fraud leveled by Trump and his lawyers was newsworthy and protected by the 1st Amendment.

The government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency found no evidence that voting systems in the 2020 election were compromised. Testimony in the Jan. 6 House select committee hearings has shown that numerous Trump aides and his attorney general, William Barr, saying the level of fraud needed to change the election’s outcome did not exist.

The question now circulating among current and former Fox News employees is whether the company will forgo paying hefty a settlement and be willing to go to trial. The company recently changed attorneys — hiring high-profile Chicago-based trial lawyer Dan Webb — an indication it is ready for that possibility.

The inherent risk in going to trial would be having Fox News personalities testify and likely questioned on internal emails and documents related to the conservative network's programming procedures.

"We are confident we will prevail as freedom of the press is foundational to our democracy and must be protected, in addition to the damages claims being outrageous, unsupported and not rooted in sound financial analysis, serving as nothing more than a flagrant attempt to deter our journalists from doing their jobs,” Fox News said in a statement.

Fox News is also facing a $2.7-billion defamation suit from Smartmatic that says Fox presented false conspiracy theories and accusations about the company’s role in the election that damaged its reputation.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.