Fox News seeks to silence one of its own over $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit

The logos for Fox programs are displayed on the News Corp. building on January 25, 2023 in New York City.
The logos for Fox programs are displayed on the News Corp. building on January 25, 2023 in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Fox News sought a restraining order against one of its own senior producers on Monday to prevent her from publicly disclosing information linked to the $1.6 billion defamation claim it is fighting over falsehoods it broadcast after the 2020 presidential election.

Abby Grossberg, the senior producer in charge of booking guests for star Tucker Carlson, told Fox last month she intended to sue the network for discrimination and retaliation, according to Fox's lawsuit.

Fox alleges it was compelled to sue her to prevent the disclosure of its legal stratagems.

"Ms. Grossberg has threatened to disclose FOX News Media's attorney-client privileged information and we have filed a temporary restraining order to protect our rights," the network said in a statement.

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A judge has not yet ruled on Fox's request.

In a statement to The Daily Beast's Confider, Grossberg's attorney wrote: "Having just received and read Fox News' frivolous attempt to silence Abby Grossberg, we are happy that the full story regarding her case will now be heard by three separate courts in each of which we are confident she will receive the justice she deserves and certainly the fair treatment which she hasn't experienced thus far from her employer Fox News."

Her law firm had shared with the network a draft version of her civil complaint, which cited "pages of allegations purportedly summarizing and quoting communications that Defendant had with Fox News' attorneys," Fox's legal briefs allege.

Fox says those statements are confidential for "Unrelated" litigation filed in March 2021. That's when election-tech company Dominion Voting Systems sued Fox News for broadcasting baseless claims that the company helped rig the presidential election for Joe Biden. A trial in that case is scheduled for next month.

Producer is a key witness to how baseless claims made it on Fox's air

In November 2020, Grossberg was booking guests for the weekend show of another Fox star, Maria Bartiromo. According to evidence made public in Dominion's lawsuit against Fox, at one point, Bartiromo shared a memo forwarded to her by attorney Sidney Powell, who pushed then-President Donald Trump's false election-fraud claims.

The memo Powell delivered detailed allegations of fraud without providing evidence. It was written by a woman named Marlene Bourne, who admitted her claims were "pretty wackadoodle."

Yet Bartiromo, who amplified and even embraced Trump's conspiracy theories after the election, hosted Powell on her show several times. In those appearances, Powell asserted that the election had not been on the up and up, and promised to reveal evidence in due course. She never followed through.

On Sept. 14, 2022, Grossberg told Dominion's attorneys under oath that such a memo should not have been used as the basis of any such segments.

"This isn't something that I would use right now as reportable for air, no, it's not," said Grossberg in her deposition.

In its lawsuit against Grossberg, Fox's legal team said it informed her attorney that information included in her draft complaint against the network was privileged earlier this month. But on Monday, Fox said, Grossberg's law firm shared drafts of lawsuits that would incorporate that material.

Fox is demanding that the court permanently block Grossberg from sharing that information.

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