Fox News employees knew that the claims blaming voter fraud for the 2020 defeat of Donald Trump were outlandish and false, even as the network continued to promote them as credible. a newly opened court filing seems to show.

The document, which is based on a large number of internal communications from Fox News employees involved in election coverage, includes comments and quotes that reveal that the network’s producers, executives and stars knew the election was not stolen. and that many fraud claims were false.

The filing is the latest to go public in the defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems, one of the largest US manufacturers of voting equipment, against Fox News for $1.6 billion.

Dominion has been a frequent target of conspiracy theorists who falsely claim Trump won the 2020 presidential election. His lawsuit includes hundreds of pages documenting times the network has made false accusations against the company, including that its software was rigged against Trump or that the company was secretly owned by Venezuela.

“There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and its opportunistic private equity owners, but at the heart of this case remains freedom of the press and freedom of expression, which are fundamental rights granted by the Constitution and protected by New York. Times v. Sullivan,» Fox said in a statement Thursday night.

The newly revealed messages and comments are the clearest evidence yet that many at Fox knew that the claims of voter fraud had no basis in fact.

Even certain hosts who sometimes espouse conspiracy theories on their shows privately said they knew that Sidney Powell, who filed election lawsuits to prevent several states won by Joe Biden from certifying his elections, was not telling the truth, according to the documents.

Dominion is also suing Powell for defamation.

Tucker Carlson told a producer shortly after the election that Powell «is lying,» the documents show.

Sean Hannity said, according to the legal filing: “That whole narrative that Sidney was pushing. I didn’t believe it for a second.»

Powell did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night.

Even Fox’s internal fact checks after the election found the voter fraud claims to be «incorrect» and «not evidence of widespread fraud.»

Dominion has said that in order to increase viewership, the network knowingly aired false claims that «recklessly ignored the truth» and smeared it.

Fox has said it is maintaining its coverage of the 2020 election and that its broadcasts are protected by the First Amendment.

Fox’s lawyers have including debunked claims of voter fraud in his defense. the domain has reclaimed Fox did not present complete evidence before trial.

In a counterclaim filed Thursday, Fox said Dominion has no evidence to support its claim of «staggering» damages and argued that Trump’s claims were «undeniably newsworthy.» Fox News viewers acknowledged that the claims were being reported as accusations, the network said.

He also said Dominion’s lawsuit takes quotes from his coverage out of context and ignores his reporting of Dominion’s rebuttals to the false claims.

“Dominion’s lawsuit is an attack on the First Amendment and a free press,” Fox wrote in his filing. «The record shows that Dominion’s core allegations are factually unfounded, legally unfounded, or both.»

Jane C. Timm and Reuters contributed.