The New York Times and NPR asked a judge on Wednesday to unseal a trove of documents in Dominion Voting Systems $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against right-wing channel Fox News.
“This lawsuit is unquestionably a consequential defamation case that tests the scope of the First Amendment,” the pair of news organizations said in the filing.
“It has been the subject of widespread public interest and media coverage and undeniably involves a matter of profound public interest: namely, how a broadcast network fact-checked and presented to the public the allegations that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen and that plaintiff was to blame,” The Times and NPR added.
Dominion filed its mammoth lawsuit against Fox News in March 2021, alleging that during the 2020 presidential election the talk network “recklessly disregarded the truth” and pushed various pro-Donald Trump conspiracy theories about the election technology company because “the lies were good for Fox’s business.”
Fox News has not only vigorously denied Dominion’s claims, it has insisted it is “proud” of its 2020 election coverage.
Spokespersons for Dominion and Fox News did not immediately provide a comment on the outlets’ request to the judge. But David McCraw, the senior vice president and deputy general counsel of The Times, reiterated in a statement the paper’s belief that the case “raises important issues about libel law and the protections afforded by the First Amendment.”
“The public has a right to transparent judicial proceedings to ensure that the law is being applied fairly,” McCraw said. “That is especially important in a case that touches upon political issues that have deeply divided the country.”
As the lawsuit has progressed in the judicial system, a deluge of legal documents have been withheld from public view.
The case is expected to go to trial later this year unless a settlement is reached.