Newly fired Fox News producer seeks to recant testimony in $1.6 bln Dominion lawsuit
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, March 27 (Reuters) - A newly fired Fox News producer is seeking to recant testimony she said network lawyers coerced her into providing as Fox defends against Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit.
Abby Grossberg said Fox's lawyers left her feeling she "had to do everything possible to avoid becoming the 'star witness' for Dominion or else I would be seriously jeopardizing my career at Fox News."
The former producer for Maria Bartiromo's Sunday morning show and later Tucker Carlson's prime-time show made the accusation as she filed amended lawsuits in Manhattan federal court and Delaware Superior Court accusing Fox of discrimination, retaliation, sexism and misogyny.
Grossberg said Fox fired her on Friday, four days after she originally sued and was put on administrative leave.
She also filed complaints against Fox on Monday with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the New York City Commission on Human Rights.
Fox, part of Rupert Murdoch's Fox Corp, said Grossberg "ignored" its warning that she might lose her job if she revealed privileged communications with lawyers.
It also said it would defend against Grossberg's legal claims, which were "riddled with false allegations against Fox and our employees."
Fox has also said its coverage of election claims was protected by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.
The network is defending in the Delaware court against Dominion's lawsuit accusing the network of repeatedly and knowingly airing false claims linking its voting machines to widespread fraud in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Grossberg wants to correct or add to 31 statements from her Sept. 14 deposition in that case that she said were tainted by Fox lawyers' "impermissible coaching and coercion."
She said she suppressed her view that Fox executives tracked ratings closely, and Fox would make more money by appealing to more viewers who "agree with what they are watching."
Grossberg also wants her deposition to better reflect Fox's alleged vetting of on-air guests.
Her proposed testimony said David Clark, a senior network executive "keyed into what content the top brass" wanted, would typically step in to keep unsubstantiated content off the air.
"That did not happen with respect to Dominion-related reporting which was allowed to receive significant airplay without any evidence implicating them in any way," Grossberg said.
A prominent Trump supporter, Rudolph Giuliani, got special treatment, with Clark letting the former New York City mayor and Trump lawyer stay on air because he was "cleared on a corporate level to keep appearing on TV unfiltered," Grossberg said.
Clark is among the defendants in Grossberg's Manhattan lawsuit.
The cases are Grossberg v Fox Corp et al, Delaware Superior Court, No. N23C-03-180; and Grossberg v Fox Corp et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 23-02368.
(Reporting by Helen Coster and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Richard Chang)