Immediately after the 2020 presidential election, the most significant narrative promoted by former President Donald Trump and his supporters was that he had actually won the election, and that the results were rigged via Dominion Voting Systems machines in favor of now-President Joe Biden.
One of Trump’s most high-profile supporters promoting the voting machine fraud narrative via the guests he invited onto his nightly primetime show was Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
However, Hannity testified under oath back in August that he honestly did not believe Trump’s claims about voting machine fraud in the election, according to a story published by the New York Times on Wednesday.
“I did not believe it for one second,” Hannity testified.
Hannity’s statement, which was released on Wednesday, was made under oath as part of a $1.6 billion defamation suit brought on by Dominion Voting Systems. The August deposition featuring Hannity was held in a Delaware Superior Court and related to a series of motions brought on by the two sides, NPR’s David Folkenflik reported. It was part of the defamation case’s discovery phase, which is in preparation for a trial scheduled to take place in April 2023, and it’s among the strongest evidence to emerge publicly showing Fox News staffers knew some of the statements they were airing were false.
In the deposition, Hannity was responding to a question about allegations made by Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor who once represented Trump in the presidential election-related lawsuits. Powell alleged that U.S. states which used voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems had “fraud,” and she reiterated the claim during a November 20, 2020 appearance on Hannity, a couple of weeks after the election was called for Biden. Powell stated there had been “corruption all across the country, in countless districts.”
The NYT reports:
At the center of this imagined plot were machines from Dominion Voting Systems, which Ms. Powell claimed ran an algorithm that switched votes for Mr. Trump to votes for Joseph R. Biden Jr. Dominion machines, she insisted, were being used “to trash large batches of votes.”
Mr. Hannity interrupted her with a gentle question that had been circulating among election deniers, despite a lack of supporting proof: Why were Democrats silencing whistle blowers who could prove this fraud?
Did Mr. Hannity believe any of this?
“I did not believe it for one second.”
That was the answer Mr. Hannity gave, under oath, in a deposition in Dominion’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, according to information disclosed in a court hearing on Wednesday. The hearing was called to address several issues that need to be resolved before the case heads for a jury trial, which the judge has scheduled to begin in April.
According to Dominion Voting Systems attorney Stephen Shackelford, Jr., Fox News primetime chief Meade Cooper also admitted under oath that she never believed the lies about Dominion.
Other Fox News personalities called to give depositions in Dominion’s defamation case include Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo, and former Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs, who is no longer with the company. Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch have reportedly been deposed as well.
The New York Times said Fox News had no immediate comment for its story. TVNewser reached out to the network and did not immediately hear back.
Fox News has repeatedly claimed that the news division’s reporting on Trump and his allies’ voter fraud allegations was newsworthy and protected by the First Amendment.
Concerning Dominion’s defamation lawsuit, Fox News previously told TVNewser, “We are 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.”
Fox News is also dealing with another defamation lawsuit, this time from Smartmatic for $2.7 billion, which also targets some current and former on-air talent, including Jeanine Pirro, Bartiromo, and Dobbs.