July 24, 2024

CNN Chief Legal Analyst Elie Honig said he would not want to be defending Fox News against Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit.

The company is suing the network after Fox News hosts and guests falsely claimed Dominion helped rig the 2020 election against Donald Trump. Fox News denies wrongdoing and maintains its coverage is protected by the First Amendment. Jury selection in the trial begins Thursday.

On Tuesday’s edition of The Lead, Jake Tapper asked Honig about the lawsuit’s prospects.

“If you were a Fox attorney defending Fox, how would you feel going into jury selection this week about your case?” he asked.

“I’d feel queasy, Jake,” Honig responded, adding:

I would not want to be in the position of defending Fox here. I think they’re headed for a full-blown journalistic and legal disaster. It is very difficult to successfully sue a media outlet for defamation in this country. What you have to prove is what we call “actual malice” meaning the statements were false and the defendant made those statements knowingly or with reckless disregard of the truth. Now, that’s a very high bar. But here we have Fox’s own texts in black and white, where they call the election fraud claims, and I quote, “nuts,” “insane,” “B.S.”

Honig was referencing the myriad private communications between Fox employees – including on-air talent – showing they were skeptical of claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election. Nevertheless, some of them cast doubt on the integrity of the contest on their shows.

He noted the judge in the case has already ruled Fox News’s election-rigging claims to be false and that the jury must decide whether the network made the claims with actual malice.

“Are we gonna hear, do you think from some of the high-profile names in the case – whether it’s [Fox Corp. Chairman] Rupert Murdoch or Sean Hannity?” Tapper inquired.

“Absolutely,” Honig replied. “Rupert Murdoch, the judge ruled, has to testify. Sean Hannity is on both sides’ witness lists. Maria Bartiromo and others are very likely witnesses.”

Watch above via CNN.

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