The latest filings from Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News and billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch show was the anchor was “privately disgusted” with former President Trump’s actions following his loss in the 2020 election, despite supporting the claims on air.
According to the filing, which included statements made by the network’s owner former Republican Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.), who sits on the board of Fox Corp., wrote to Murdoch after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot to express his concerns. (RELATED: Paul Ryan Refuses to Attend RNC if Trump Wins 2024 Nomination)
The Hill reports Ryans said he believed that “some high percentage of Americans” thought the election had been rigged against Trump “because they got a diet of information telling them the election was stolen from what they believe were credible sources.”
“Thanks Paul,” Murdoch wrote back, according to the filing. “Wake-up call for Hannity, who has been privately disgusted by Trump for weeks, but was scared to lose viewers.”
Hannity’s statements around the time of the election and the Jan. 6 riot have been a focus of the media and the House Select Committee for months.
Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and House Select Committee member focused on a series of text messages the prime-time host sent to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, showing Hannity telling Meadows “this is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
Hannity responded to the publication of his text messages on his show at the time, saying, “I said to Mark Meadows the exact same thing I was saying live on the radio at that time and on TV that night on Jan. 6 and well beyond Jan. 6.”
“I say the same thing in private that I say to all of you,” he continued. “Liz Cheney knows this. She doesn’t seem to care. She’s interested in one thing and one thing only: smearing Trump and purging him from the party.”
Fox has moved to have the case brought against it by Dominion dismissed on First Amendment grounds.
“Dominion’s lawsuit has always been more about what will generate headlines than what can withstand legal and factual scrutiny, as illustrated by them now being forced to slash their fanciful damages demand by more than half a billion dollars after their own expert debunked its implausible claims,” the network said in a statement on Monday evening. “Their summary judgment motion took an extreme, unsupported view of defamation law that would prevent journalists from basic reporting and their efforts to publicly smear Fox for covering and commenting on allegations by a sitting President of the United States should be recognized for what it is: a blatant violation of the First Amendment.”