Fox News host Tucker Carlson (L) laughs as he speaks with former President Donald Trump at the LIV Golf Bedminster invitational at the Trump National Golf Club in July. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Star hosts for Fox News, including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, privately texted their disbelief in former President Donald Trump's false claims of election fraud even as the network supported them, new court documents reveal.
The revelation was made in a redacted 192-page court filing by Dominion Voting Systems, which is suing Fox News for defamation in Delaware's Superior Court.
The lawsuit was filed in March 2021 and alleges that Fox News "recklessly disregarded the truth" by pushing false narratives about the company's voting machines.
In one message, Carlson wrote to Ingraham on Nov. 18, 2020, that he had caught lies from Sidney Powell -- the former campaign attorney for Trump who pushed conspiracy theories that the dead Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez had participated in a plot to rig the 2020 election.
"Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It's insane," Carlson wrote to Ingraham.
Ingraham, in a response to Carlson, said, "Sidney is a complete nut" and that "no one will work with her," adding the same about former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
"Where the hell did they even get this Venezuela tie to Dominion," Fox News host Dana Perino said, according to the lawsuit.
The messages in the court document also show that Rupert Murdoch, the longtime head of the Fox Corp. and News Corp., called Trump's election fraud claims "really crazy stuff."
The documents also show that Murdoch even suggested on Jan. 5, 2021, having Carlson, Hannity and Ingraham appear together in a segment to declare President Joe Biden the winner of the election.
Fox News said Friday in a statement to UPI, "There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times vs. Sullivan."
The documents also raise questions about journalistic ethics at the network.
"Please get her fired," Carlson said in a message to Hannity after White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich published a tweet fact-checking a Trump tweet on election fraud.
"It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It's measurably hurting the company."
The Fox News statement said the court filing is full of "cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context."
In its own court document filed Thursday in response to Dominion, Fox News blasted the election technology company for seeking more than $1 billion in damages.
This article has been updated to include a statement from Fox News.