Jeanine Pirro has emerged as a key figure in Dominion Voting System $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News for the network’s baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election, according to court documents obtained by NPR.
The voting tech company argues that by questioning Pirro, it could reach the legal requirement in proving that Fox News showed “actual malice” when it repeatedly broadcast and amplified rumors and lies made by Donald Trump, other right-wing personalities and far-right QAnon conspiracy theorists that Dominion tried to throw the presidential race to Joe Biden.
“Discovery has revealed that…Fox News host Jeanine Pirro help[ed] spread the verifiably false yet devastating lies against Dominion,” according to documents filed Thursday in a Delaware court by Dominion lawyers. Pirro, however, has not been named as a defendant in the suit against Fox Corp.
In March, Dominion Voting Systems filed its defamation case against Fox News over on-air claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged, including allusions to “hacked” or compromised voting machines and other claims that were never substantiated.
Dominion charges that Fox made the tampering claims to capture viewers away from other right-wing news outlets. “The truth matters. Lies have consequences,” Dominion’s attorneys wrote in their legal filing.
First Amendment scholars say the case could set a pivotal legal precedent for defamation cases.
NPR reported earlier this month that a Fox producer expressed concern to colleagues via email about putting Pirro on the air after the November 2020 election, saying she was pulling conspiracy theories from extremist websites to justify whatever Trump was saying at the time.
Dominion has also pointed to a Nov. 14, 2020 segment of Pirro interviewing Trump’s campaign attorney, Sidney Powell, who made unsubstantiated claims. “She not only allowed Ms. Powell to air such nonsense, not only amplified it on her ‘Justice With Judge Jeanine’ program, [but] Ms. Pirro’s conduct and role in the spread of this disinformation lies at the heart of Dominion’s claims,” Dominion’s attorneys wrote.
A rep for Fox News did not respond to requests for comment.