Fox News swiftly banned then-President Donald Trump’s election-denying lawyers from appearing on the right-wing channel in December 2020 after being threatened with a defamation suit, a text message made public on Friday revealed.
The message was made public as part of Dominion Voting Systems’ ongoing $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News. The case is likely to proceed to a trial in mid-April.
Senior producer Abby Grossberg said in the text message to her boss, TV host Maria Bartiromo, that she had just received a call from Fox News executive David Clark who indicated the right-wing channel had made the decision to ban Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis from air.
“David Clark just called me,” Grossberg wrote to Bartiromo. “‘There are 3 guests fox is banning because of legal reasons and your hosts like all of them: Rudy, Jenna Ellis, Sidney.’ Said it’s bc of Smartmatic suit.”
Fox News vehemently denies that it ever defamed Dominion or Smartmatic, which has also filed a massive lawsuit against the network.
Grossberg’s text message was dated December 14, 2020. That same day, voting technology company Smartmatic sent a legal notice to Fox News demanding “full and complete” retractions for the “false and defamatory statements” that had been made on Fox News’ air. That’s also the same day members of the Electoral College met in statehouses across the country, affirming Joe Biden’s victory.
A Fox News spokesperson did not comment specifically on the exchange between Grossberg and Bartiromo indicating the network had banned Trump’s legal team from its air. But a spokesperson reiterated a previous statement that accused Dominion of relying on “cherry-picked quotes” that are “without context” and designed to “generate headlines” that “distract from the facts of the case.”
The text message was included in a batch of new materials made public Friday as part of the Dominion litigation, which also included emails sent by senior Fox News executives and its star talent.
Grossberg last week filed two lawsuits against Fox News accusing the network of coercing her into providing misleading testimony in the Dominion case. Fox News has refuted her allegations and has said her lawsuits are “riddled with false allegations against the network and our employees.” She was fired shortly after filing her lawsuits.
Dominion said in a court filing Monday that it wants to put some of Fox News’ top executives and most well-known hosts on the witness stand when its case against the right-wing network goes to trial. Dominion also said it wishes to call to Grossberg to the stand.