A recent filing in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News reveals that after the 2020 presidential election, the network’s prime-time host Tucker Carlson tried to get a Fox reporter fired for fact-checking former President Donald Trump’s election lie involving Dominion.
The filing, totalling 192 pages, shows the extent to which the network knew it was pushing false claims to its viewers in the aftermath of the 2020 election by suggesting that Dominion’s machines were involved in voter fraud. The lawyers for Dominion lay out a seemingly endless list of facts and evidence that show how from producers to on-air personalities to executives to Rupert Murdoch himself, “literally dozens of people with editorial responsibility” acted with, in Dominion’s view, “actual malice.”
Among other bombshell revelations, the filing describes a series of text messages exchanged on November 12, 2020, between Carlson and other prime-time hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. In the exchange, Carlson referred to Fox reporter Jacqui Heinrich and asked Hannity to “please get her fired” for a tweet in which she, according to the filing, “correctly fact-checked” Trump’s tweet regarding Dominion’s role in the 2020 election.
In a separate disclosure from the filing, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott told the network President Jay Wallace and Fox News’ Senior Executive Vice President for Corporate Communications Irena Briganti about Hannity’s protestation over Heinrich’s tweet, adding, “She [Heinrich] has serious nerve doing this and if this gets picked up, viewers are going to be further disgusted.”
From pages 31-32 in the filing (emphasis in original; citations removed):
Meanwhile, later that night of November 12, Ingraham was still texting with Hannity and Carlson. In their group text thread, Carlson pointed Hannity to a tweet by Fox reporter Jacqui Heinrich. Heinrich was “fact checking” a tweet by Trump that mentioned Dominion—and specifically mentioned Hannity’s and Dobbs’ broadcasts that evening discussing Dominion. Heinrich correctly fact-checked the tweet, pointing out that “top election infrastructure officials” said that “‘There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.’”
Carlson told Hannity: “Please get her fired. Seriously....What the fuck? I’m actually shocked...It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.” Tucker added: “I just went crazy on Meade over it.” Hannity said he had “already sent to Suzanne with a really?” He then added: “I’m 3 strikes. Wallace shit debate[.] Election night a disaster[.] Now this BS? Nope. Not gonna fly. Did I mention Cavuto?”
Hannity indeed had discussed with Scott. Hannity texted his team: “I just dropped a bomb.” Suzanne Scott received the message. She told Jay Wallace and Fox News’ SVP for Corporate Communications Irena Briganti: “Sean texted me—he’s standing down on responding but not happy about this and doesn’t understand how this is allowed to happen from anyone in news. She [Heinrich] has serious nerve doing this and if this gets picked up, viewers are going to be further disgusted.” By the next morning, Heinrich had deleted her fact-checking tweet.
The filing also notes, “By the next morning, Heinrich had deleted her fact-checking tweet.” Heinrich still has another post on her Twitter noting Dominion’s denial of Trump’s baseless claims of fraud.
The filing is the latest development in the yearslong battle over Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against Fox News, originally filed in March 2021. It is by far the biggest disclosure of facts and evidence from Dominion’s side so far in the case. Depositions of various Fox News stars began around August 2022.
Some of Fox News’ biggest names repeated the lies about Dominion or otherwise smeared the company, Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and Lou Dobbs. Trump’s lawyers Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, and Sidney Powell also appeared on the network to spread falsehoods about Dominion. Fox continued to push the lies even after the decision-makers at the network knew the information was false.
Among the myriad false accusations were claims that Dominion machines altered vote counts, that the company gave “kickbacks” to elected officials, and that the voting machines were owned or controlled by foreign governments.