Sean Hannity Admits He Didn’t Believe Dominion Voter-Fraud Claims ‘for a Second’
In a sworn deposition in Dominion Voting Service’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, prime-time host Sean Hannity admitted that he never bought former president Trump’s allegations that the voting-hardware company rigged tabulation machines to “steal” the 2020 election from him.
“I did not believe it for one second,” the prime-time anchor testified, according to information released in a court hearing on Wednesday and first reported by the New York Times.
The firm has accused Hannity and other hosts at the network of knowingly peddling the lie that it hijacked ballot processing in precincts around the country to favor President Joe Biden. Dominion sued a number of right-wing media outlets and figures after the 2020 showdown, including Fox News, former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell, Newsmax, and others.
“Fox set out to lure viewers back—including President Trump himself—by intentionally and falsely blaming Dominion for President Trump’s loss by rigging the election,” Dominion’s lawsuit said.
In the immediate aftermath of the tumultuous November race, Powell was invited onto Hannity’s program. A live broadcast aired of Powell claiming that Dominion’s voting machines “ran an algorithm that shaved votes from Trump and awarded them to Biden.”
Dominion has accused Hannity of failing to reject her claims when he suspected they were a crock. He “did not correct Powell or notify his millions of viewers that he and his show’s producers had seen direct evidence disproving those false claims,” Dominion wrote in its original complaint, according to the Financial Times. Hannity instead asked Powell during the segment why Democrats were suppressing whistleblowers who could present evidence supporting her narrative.
Dominion’s legal team has deposed numerous Fox stars including Tucker Carson, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Steve Doocy. The sons of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, the head of the empire that owns Fox, have also been called to court.
The company’s lawyers argued in the Delaware Superior Court on Wednesday that much of the Fox talent they interviewed said they were skeptical of Trump’s voter-fraud claims, specifically about the alleged corruption with Dominion, the Times reported. No Fox witness could substantiate the rigged machine claims, the lawyers said. To win the case, the plaintiffs must prove Fox engaged in defamation, specifically by promoting Powell’s theory on air while they openly acknowledged behind the scenes that it was false.
Fox has contended that its programming features news reporting and opinion content and that Trump’s allegations of widespread voter fraud necessitated frequent coverage, especially as the 2020 election outcome hung in the balance.
In a response filed with the court, Fox News said it was “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.”