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Australia: Lachlan Murdoch drops defamation lawsuit over Capitol attack

Rupert Murdoch’s eldest son on Friday dropped his defamation lawsuit against Australian news site Crikey, which published an article accusing the influential family of encouraging the storming of the US Capitol in January 2021.

Attorneys representing the site announced that Lachlan Murdoch had dropped a defamation lawsuit against Crikey.

He had sued Kreiki after publishing an article in June 2022 titled “Trump is a confirmed deranged traitor. Murdoch is his unconvicted accomplice.”

Lachlan Murdoch is not named in the article, which instead refers to “Murdoch and his host of savage Fox News commentators”.

Thousands of supporters of Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021, spurred by conspiracy theories that Joe Biden stole the presidential election.

Mr. Murdoch is the co-chairman of the News Corp. group and managing director of the media empire Fox Corporation, which owns the American television news channel that broadcasts Fox News, a conservative bastion in the American audiovisual landscape.

Murdoch’s Australian lawyers confirmed that the allegations made by Kreiki were not “true”, explaining that Rupert Murdoch’s son wished to drop the case.

Lachlan, solicitor John Churchill asserted, “Murdoch remains satisfied that the court would have approved him.”

“However, he did not want to give Crikey the opportunity (…) to facilitate a marketing campaign aimed at attracting subscribers,” he argued in particular.

Left-leaning news site Crikey has repeatedly challenged Mr Murdoch to sue him over the articles in question, and has launched fundraising and subscription campaigns in the wake of the action in justice.

“We won. Thanks to the entire @crikey_news team, all employees, @marquelawyers legal team, all of our followers and everyone who contributed to the campaign,” tweeted Will Hayward, CEO of Private Media, Crikey’s parent company.

See also  Capitol storming was "the culmination of an attempted coup," says House Inquiry chief

The dismissal of the defamation lawsuit in Australia follows the conclusion on Tuesday of an out-of-court settlement in the United States between Fox News and the Dominion Electronic Voting Equipment Company.

Fox News has agreed to pay Dominion $787.5 million for defamation, accusing the channel of accusing him at length and without evidence of using it to rig the 2020 US presidential election.

The action led to an embarrassing dump for Fox News, with the publication of emails or SMS messages showing that the channel’s stars, and even Rupert Murdoch, could hardly believe it, in November 2020, in a fraudulent election scenario, while accusations were everywhere.

This made Creaky’s case a “lost case” for the Murdoch Group, according to Melbourne University libel lawyer Dennis Mueller, who specializes in defamation cases.

Kreiki “could have shown in court the email discovered by Dominion to prove that they (Fox News) knowingly spread false information about the alleged stolen election,” he decrypted for AFP.