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A court filing shows that Fox News stars and staffers scoffed at claims of election fraud in private.

Employees at Fox News were aware that claims blaming election fraud for Donald Trump’s 2020 loss were implausible and false, even as the network promoted them as credible, according to a newly unsealed court filing.

The document, which is based on internal communications from Fox News employees involved in election coverage, includes comments and quotes revealing that Fox News producers, executives, and stars knew the election wasn’t stolen and that many fraud claims were false.

The filing is the latest in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems, one of the largest manufacturers of voting equipment in the United States, against Fox News.

Conspiracy theorists who falsely claim Trump won the 2020 presidential election have frequently targeted Dominion. Its suit contains hundreds of pages detailing instances when the network made false claims about the company, such as that its software was rigged against Trump or that the company was secretly owned in Venezuela.

“There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners,” Fox said in a statement Thursday evening.

The newly released messages and comments provide the clearest evidence yet that many at Fox were aware that the election fraud claims were false.

According to the filings, even certain hosts who occasionally embrace conspiracy theories on their shows admitted in private that they knew Sidney Powell, who filed election lawsuits to prevent multiple states that Joe Biden won from certifying their elections, was not telling the truth.

Powell is also being sued for defamation by Dominion.

Tucker Carlson told a producer soon after the election that Powell “is lying,” the documents show.

According to the legal filing, Sean Hannity stated, “That whole narrative that Sidney was pushing. I couldn’t believe it for a second.”

Powell did not respond immediately to a request for comment Thursday night.

Even Fox’s internal fact-checking after the election found that claims of widespread election fraud were “incorrect” and “did not demonstrate widespread fraud.”

According to Dominion, in order to increase viewership, the network knowingly broadcasted false claims that “recklessly disregarded the truth” and defamed it.

Fox has stated that it will continue to cover the 2020 election and that its broadcasts are protected by the First Amendment.

Fox’s lawyers have used debunked election fraud claims in their defence. Dominion claims Fox failed to fully produce evidence prior to the trial.

Fox claimed in a counterclaim filed Thursday that Dominion has no evidence to back up its “staggering” damages claim and that Trump’s claims are “undeniably newsworthy.” According to the network, Fox News viewers recognised that the claims were being reported as allegations.

It also claimed that Dominion’s suit takes quotes from its coverage out of context and ignores Dominion’s rebuttals to the false claims.

“Dominion’s lawsuit is an assault on the First Amendment and free expression,” Fox stated in its filing. “The record demonstrates that Dominion’s central allegations are either factually unfounded or legally unsound.”

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