Rupert Murdoch’s eldest son on Friday withdrew his defamation suit against Australian news site Crikey, which published a story accusing the influential family of encouraging an attack on the US capital United in January 2021.
Lawyers representing the site have announced that Lachlan Murdoch has withdrawn his defamation suit against Crikey.
He sued Crikey in June 2022 after publishing an article titled “Trump is a confirmed traitor. And Murdoch was his unindicted co-conspirator.”
The article did not mention Lachlan Murdoch by name, instead referring to “the Murdochs and their gaggle of warmy Fox News commentators.”
Due to conspiracy theories that Joe Biden stole the presidential election, thousands of Donald Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021.
Mr. Murdoch is co-chairman of News Corp Group and managing director of media empire Fox Corporation, which owns American television news streaming Fox News, a conservative bastion in the American broadcasting landscape.
Murdoch’s Australian lawyers have reiterated that Crikey’s allegations are “not true”, adding that Rupert Murdoch’s son wants the case withdrawn.
Lawyer John Churchill stressed that Lachlan was “confident that the court would agree with him”.
“However, he does not want to give Crikey the opportunity (…) to facilitate a marketing campaign aimed at attracting subscribers”, he specifically argued.
Crikey, a left-leaning news site, has repeatedly challenged Mr Murdoch to sue him over questionable articles and launched fundraising and subscription campaigns following legal action.
“We won. Thanks to the whole @crikey_news team, all the staff, the @marquelawyers legal team, all our followers and everyone who contributed to the campaign,” tweeted Will Hayward, CEO of Crikey’s parent company Private Media.
A defamation lawsuit was dropped in Australia after Fox News and electronic voting machine company Dominion reached an out-of-court settlement in the United States on Tuesday.
Fox News has agreed to pay Dominion $787.5 million in defamation, accusing the channel of making lengthy allegations against him without proof that it was used to rig the 2020 US presidential election.
The process led to an awkward unpacking for Fox News, with the publication of email or SMS exchanges showing that the channel’s stars and even Rupert Murdoch were not trusted, in a scenario of election fraud in November 2020. Accusations are all over the air.
According to Denis Muller, a lawyer specializing in defamation cases at the University of Melbourne, this made the Crikey case a “lost cause” for the Murdoch Group.
Crikey could have presented the email Dominion uncovered in court to show they (Fox News) knowingly spread false information about the stolen election,” he decrypted for AFP.