Tucker Carlson called Trump a ‘demonic force’, lawsuit reveals

Fox News says defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems is an assault on First Amendment

Maroosha Muzaffar
Friday 17 February 2023 16:30 GMT
Related: Tucker Carlson calls Boris Johnson a ‘coward’ and ‘liar’

Tucker Carlson allegedly called former president Donald Trump a “demonic force” who could “destroy” him if he missteps, in his texts to his producer.

“He’s the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong,” Carlson texted his Fox News producers, according to court filings in the Dominion defamation case. He called Mr Trump “a demonic force, a destroyer,” adding, “But he’s not going to destroy us.”

The $1.6bn defamation lawsuit against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems over the network’s coverage of the 2020 presidential election has been termed as an assault on the First Amendment by the attorneys for the channel.

Fox News repeatedly broadcast lies about Mr Trump’s vote-rigging claims that it knew were “total bs”, Dominion Voting Systems said in a filing made public on Thursday.

Dominion wrote: “From the top down, Fox knew ‘the dominion stuff’ was ‘total bs’. Yet despite knowing the truth – or at minimum, recklessly disregarding that truth – Fox spread and endorsed these ‘outlandish voter fraud claims’ about Dominion even as it internally recognised the lies as ‘crazy’, ‘absurd’, and ‘shockingly reckless’”.

Attorneys for Fox, however, argued that Dominion advanced “novel defamation theories” and is seeking a “staggering” damage figure aimed at generating headlines, chilling protected speech and enriching Dominion’s private equity owner Staple Street Capital Partners and its investors.

“Dominion brought this lawsuit to punish FNN for reporting on one of the biggest stories of the day – allegations by the sitting president of the United States and his surrogates that the 2020 election was affected by fraud,” stated the Fox News counterclaim. “The very fact of those allegations was newsworthy.”

A Fox spokesperson said in a statement: “There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion ... but the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan.”

A five-week trial is scheduled to begin on 17 April.

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