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Dominion urges judge to compel Murdochs to testify in Fox trial

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Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp and co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, arrives at the Sun Valley Resort of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 10, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems urged a Delaware judge to compel Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, and his son, Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch, to appear live in court during the upcoming trial over its $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox and its networks.

In a letter to Judge Eric Davis on Wednesday, Dominion urged the judge to compel both Murdochs to appear live. It also requested in-person testimony from Paul Ryan, the Republican former speaker of the House and a Fox board member, and Viet Dinh, Fox’s chief legal and policy officer.

The letter comes days after the judge ruled that the lawsuit would go to trial in April.

Davis had rejected Fox’s arguments, but granted several of Dominion’s motions with the exception of its argument that Fox and its hosts acted with malice in broadcasting false claims about the 2020 presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

The trial is scheduled to begin on April 17. Dominion and Fox have agreed that some of Fox’s top TV talent, including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, as well as former host Lou Dobbs and Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, will appear in court to give their testimonies live.

In earlier court papers Dominion did not included the Murdochs on its list for live testimony, although it had been earlier discussed in court.

Fox had opposed Murdoch, as well as the other Fox Corp. executives, giving their testimony live in court. They had also pointed to the elder Murdoch’s age, 92, as a reason for why he couldn’t appear live in court. The judge rejected that argument during last week’s hearing.

A Fox Corp. spokesperson pointed to what attorneys said earlier in court regarding the executives’ hours of testimony during their depositions and that they don’t hold the same relevance as witnesses since this case is about Fox News programming. Last week, a Fox News spokesperson called Dominion’s live witness list “another attempt to generate headlines and distract from the many shortcomings of its case. Ultimately, this case is about the First Amendment protections of the media’s absolute right to cover the news.”

Davis will preside over a hearing Wednesday to discuss the witness list.

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