Sean Hannity’s Deposition Testimony May Cripple Fox News in Dominion’s Defamation Lawsuit

Gary L Deel
5 min readDec 28, 2022

By Dr. Gary L. Deel, Ph.D., J.D.

Following the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump and his attorneys falsely claimed that the election had been rigged and stolen. One theory in particular was championed by disgraced attorney Sydney Powell who publicly accused voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems of rigging their machines to maliciously toss out votes for Trump while still retaining votes for Biden.

These claims were completely baseless and no credible evidence to support them has ever been produced. But they were nonetheless picked up by conservative news networks including Fox News — the largest television news network in existence today by viewership. And their anchors unreservedly spotlit Powell’s claims of fraud and conspiracy against Dominion.

Understandably, these accusations — notwithstanding the complete absence of evidence to support them — carry a high probability of causing substantial damage to Dominion’s reputation and its future business dealings. So shortly thereafter, Dominion filed suit against Powell and the news networks who gave support for her lies.

Laughably, Powell attempted to defend herself by suggesting that her public statements on live television were mere speculation and “no reasonable person” should have believed her. This, unsurprisingly, has been unsuccessful and the judge overseeing the lawsuit brought by Dominion tossed out Powell’s counterclaims earlier this year.

But the case against Fox News and the other networks was always going to be a more difficult road for Dominion. This is because American defamation laws generally give a wide berth to journalists in reporting on stories.

Typically, defamation suits merely require that the plaintiff prove the defendant made a false statement to a third party that caused actual harm. There is no requirement that the defendant have known about the falsity — which means that ordinary people have some duty to investigate the veracity of claims before they communicate them to others.

But the rule is a little different for members of the news and media. As stated by NOLO, “journalists are protected from defamation claims when their

Gary L Deel

Dr. Gary Deel is a consultant, an attorney, an executive leader, an author, a podcast host, and a professor for several different universities.