Abby Grossberg, the Fox News producer who was fired last week after filing suit against the network, added new details to her allegations that she was coerced by Fox News’ legal team into giving misleading deposition testimony as the network defended itself in Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit.
In an amended complaint, Grossberg’s attorneys also raised the prospect that she could testify in the upcoming trial on behalf of Dominion while rejecting the possibility that she would appear on behalf of Fox News.
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The network dismissed Grossberg on Friday, alleging that she had failed to protect privileged company information in a lawsuit she filed against the network earlier in the week. The network also contended that her lawsuit was “riddled with false allegations.”
In Grossberg’s revised complaint (read it here), filed in New York federal court and Delaware Superior Court on Monday, Grossberg’s attorneys alleged that the network, in firing her, “hammered the final nail into the coffin of Ms. Grossberg’s once-promising career in television journalism by publicly terminating her employment for allegedly being insubordinate for publicly disclosing the woefully inadequate and likely malicious ‘legal advice’ given to her by Fox News Attorneys prior to and during her deposition in the Dominion/Fox Lawsuit.”
The latest filing also included an errata sheet, or areas of her Dominion deposition that she is seeking to revise.
Her attorneys, Parisis Filippatos and Tanvir Rahman, also wrote that Grossberg may waive “her jointly held attorney-client privilege” and “submit whatever evidence she wishes of the Fox News attorneys’ wrongdoing.” Her attorneys also indicted that they would “pierce the shattered shield” of the network’s attorney-client privilege claims by citing a crime, fraud and misconduct exception.
Her attorneys also said that Fox attorneys “made a bad faith proffer” in court last week by asserting that Grossberg was a witness under their control who they may offer to testify. In fact, Grossberg’s attorneys wrote, she “cannot be compelled to testify at the trial in the Dominion/Fox Lawsuit; (b) she will never testify on behalf of Fox News in the trial; and (c) she will only voluntarily testify – if at all – on behalf of Dominion.”
Grossberg is a former booker and producer of Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo and later Tucker Carlson Tonight. Her deposition testimony was cited in Dominion’s court filings, as the company contends that Fox News amplified false claims of vote rigging even though executives and on-air personalities knew they were bogus.
In her lawsuit, Grossberg claimed that the network’s legal team were trying to shift responsibility for Dominion’s defamation lawsuit “onto her shoulders and by implication, those of her trusted female colleague, Ms. Bartiromo, rather than the mostly male higher ups at Fox News who endorsed the repeated coverage of the lies against the Dominion.”
During her deposition, Grossberg was asked, “If someone says something untrue on one of your shows, do you think it’s important to correct it?” “No,” she answered.
But in the new complaint, Grossberg’s attorneys claimed that she would have answered differently if she had not been “conditioned and intimidated” by Fox attorneys. Her legal team said that, unlike male colleagues, she was never “instructed properly” as to her rights as a sworn witness, and “was never provided her deposition transcript to review before it was made public in the Dominion/Fox Lawsuit.”
Grossberg also claimed that she was retaliated against after she complained about unlawful harassment based on her gender and Jewish religion. She alleged that she was subjected to the harassment by Alexander McCaskill and Justin Wells, producers on Tucker Carlson Tonight.
In a statement last week, a network spokesperson said, ““Like most organizations, Fox News Media’s attorneys engage in privileged communications with our employees as necessary to provide legal advice. Last week, our attorneys advised Ms. Grossberg that, while she was free to file whatever legal claims she wished, she was in possession of our privileged information and was not authorized to disclose it publicly. We were clear that if she violated our instructions, Fox would take appropriate action including termination. Ms. Grossberg ignored these communications and chose to file her complaint without taking any steps to protect those portions containing Fox’s privileged information. We will continue to vigorously defend Fox against Ms. Grossberg’s unmeritorious legal claims, which are riddled with false allegations against Fox and our employees.”
Grossberg’s attorneys alleged that she was encouraged to give answers in which she claimed not not recall certain events. During deposition prep sessions with Fox’s legal team last year, she was never informed of “the distinction between ‘not knowing’ and ‘not recalling,'” her attorneys wrote in the latest filing. “Indeed, several times during her deposition prep, one of the Fox News Attorneys would suggestively demur, ‘who really can recall anything after nearly two years?”’ thereby tricking Ms. Grossberg into doubting her own faculties,” her attorneys wrote, adding that the Fox legal team was “conditioning and fraudulently inducing her to deny facts she knew to exist, thereby exposing her to legal and reputational jeopardy.”
In its defamation lawsuit, Dominion has focused on the fact that a Nov. 8 Sunday Morning Futures broadcast, featuring an interview with Rudy Giuliani, was pre-taped, meaning that Giuliani’s election fraud claims could have been edited before air.
Yet Grossberg’s attorneys claimed that Grossberg was coached before her deposition to “say that the segment was ‘live to tape’ so as to imply that it could not have been edited in between taping and airing. The Fox News Attorneys knew full well, however, that the implication they were trying to bully Ms. Grossberg to weave into her testimony was materially misleading. Ms. Grossberg felt frightened and confused as the Fox News Attorneys tried to gaslight her.”
Grossberg also is seeking to revise her deposition testimony to say that Dave Clark, an executive overseeing weekend programming, usually “steps in whenever we’ve shot and were about to air/endorse questionable content from a ‘what are their sources?’ standpoint. 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.”
In the deposition, Grossberg was asked, “Ratings are important to you, correct?” She answered, “I look at ratings.” She now wants to change her testimony to say that “ratings are discussed on a constant basis at Fox News and so they definitely are important to me because that seems to be all that my employer cares about.”
She said that based on “impermissible coaching and coercion” by Fox attorneys, “I felt I had to downplay ratings so as to avoid becoming the ‘star witness’ for Dominion or else I would be seriously jeopardizing my career at Fox News and would be subjected to worse terms and conditions of employment than offered to male employees as i understood it.”
In her lawsuit, Grossberg is alleging interference and retaliation violation of the Family Medical Leave Act, violation of New York’s pay equity law, gender discrimination, and retaliation and discrimination in violation of New York’s state and city human rights laws, among other claims. She also alleges abuse of process.
Her lawsuit may come up in a pre-trial hearing in the Dominion lawsuit scheduled for Tuesday.
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