It appears that Lachlan Mudoch's deposition in the $1.6 billion Dominion defamation lawsuit could go on for days.
NPR's David Folkenflik reports that court filings state Lachlan Murdoch's deposition "will continue from day to day (Sundays and holidays excluded) until complete, unless otherwise agreed." Given that Sean Hannity was deposed for more than seven hours, according to Folkenflik, and Dominion lawyers are seeking more testimony from him, it's easy to see how Lachlan Murdoch's time under oath could be quite lengthy.
And speaking of Hannity, it appears Fox is claiming that being a journalist shields his testimony. Let's not forget that when Fox was sued for libel over statements by Tucker Carlson, the guy who precedes Hannity on Fox prime time, Fox won its case by arguing that Carlson does not serve as a purveyor of truth or facts but provides "non-literal commentary."
Folkenflik has more on the Hannity dispute:
During his Aug. 31st deposition, which lasted more than seven hours, Hannity was grilled about the episode of his program that ran on November 30, 2020. It featured Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell, who was condemned, among others, by a federal judge in Michigan for abusing the court system in her challenges to the 2020 election results. Dominion is also seeking the court to force Powell — in a separate case in Washington, D.C. — to produce documents involving her communications with Fox News.
Attorneys for Fox assert that an absolute journalistic privilege protects Hannity's conversations and communications with confidential sources as Dominion tries to force additional testimony from Hannity. Hannity is not himself a defendant in the case. Fox's legal filings note he has not waived his own claims of journalistic privilege.
Folkenflik goes on to note that Hannity has contradicted himself on the subject of whether or not he's a journalist. As Media Matters has reported, Hannity claims to be a journalist, or not, according to what suits him at the moment.
In any event, Dominion appears to have quite a strong case against Fox. 60 Minutes did a deep dive into the case with a report that included an interview with retired attorney and First Amendment expert Lee Levine. As I noted in my post about that segment, Levine called Dominion’s case against Fox “much stronger than most defamation cases that I have seen. ... I might say it is the strongest."
You can watch the October 23, 2022 60 Minutes segment below.
If there’s a trial, it will provide lots of bad PR for Fox, especially if it loses.
Regardless, I think it’s possible the case(s) could prove the undoing of Tucker Carlson fan Lachlan Murdoch who has made Fox much, much worse under his “leadership.”
I’m not counting on anything but there seem to be quite a few possibilities for deserved consequences.