The former Tucker Carlson producer who sued Fox News last week alleging she was pressured into giving misleading testimony about the network’s coverage of supposed election fraud has filed new allegations about coercive coaching by Fox lawyers, bias and unprofessional behavior by staff members, and retaliation by the network.
In papers filed Monday morning, Abby Grossberg seeks to correct the Sept. 14 deposition she gave about the network’s coverage of Dominion Voting Systems, which she says was tainted by pressure from Fox lawyers. Grossberg alleges she was not able to see a transcript of her testimony before it was made part of the record, even though she requested a chance to see it six times, while male colleagues were allowed to see their transcripts. She says she was able to review and correct it only more than five months later, after she retained her own attorneys.
“Based on what I understood and took away from the deposition preparation sessions I had with Fox’s legal team which were coercive and intimidating,” Grossberg said in an unredacted errata sheet filed in Delaware, “I felt that I had to do everything possible 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 male employees as I understood it.”
Amended complaints Grossberg filed Monday morning in Delaware and New York add claims against Fox News for retaliation and discrimination and provide more details about the alleged actions by Fox lawyers during the deposition prep. Grossberg says in the amended New York complaint that the lawyers wanted her to downplay the importance of ratings in decision-making at Fox and that she felt “pressured to respond with a generic ‘I do not recall’ whenever she had the opportunity, even if she, in fact, did have a recollection, albeit perhaps not a perfect one.”
The amended New York complaint also says Fox attorneys would repeatedly say to Grossberg, “‘who really can/does recall anything?'” thereby “fraudulently inducing her to deny facts she knew to exist.” She says the attorneys also intimated that she should not reveal how she was unable to read and react to all the email warnings Dominion had sent to Fox News because of inadequate staffing and lack of resources. She says she was instead supposed to indicate that “nothing fell through the cracks” at Fox News.
Grossberg sued Fox News in Delaware and New York on March 20. Fox fired her Friday, alleging she acted “contrary to express instructions of the Company” by disclosing allegedly privileged information in Dominion’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox.
Grossberg alleges in the amended complaints that her firing was retaliation for taking legal action.
In a statement to NBC News, Grossberg’s attorneys Parisis Filippatos and Tanvir Rahman called her firing late Friday afternoon the “latest act of thinly veiled retaliation” and emphasized that Grossberg — a former senior producer and head of booking for Carlson — was asserting her civil rights in her lawsuits, which allege the network’s lawyers coached and coerced her into giving misleading testimony and conspired to blame her for Fox’s coverage of the conspiracy theories promoted by former President Donald Trump and his allies.
“We will pursue Fox News and protect Ms. Grossberg in any and every court necessary until her truth prevails and justice is done,” her attorneys said.
In a statement, a Fox News 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 new Delaware filings include an errata sheet about her original deposition, meaning her corrections, amendments and reasons for amending her original statement. On Monday, her attorneys also submitted a complaint to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a complaint to the New York City Commission on Human Rights about Fox’s possible lack of compliance with the city commission’s previous mandates.
In her suits, Grossberg alleged that Fox wanted her and Maria Bartiromo, the Fox Business anchor for whom she worked before Carlson, to take the blame for the network’s coverage of Dominion and unsubstantiated claims of voting fraud in the 2020 election. She also made a series of allegations about crude, sexist and misogynistic behavior at the network. In her new filing, she says a male producer watched a video of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., doing CrossFit exercises and called her a “eunuch.”
Grossberg said in her new filings that during her original deposition “I did not understand at the time, as I had not been made aware by Fox, that the statement ‘I don’t recall’ is potentially perjurious. … I also understood and took away from my deposition preparation sessions with Fox’s legal team that I needed to keep my answers artificially general and if it got to any questions about details, try to dodge the question by saying ‘I don’t recall.’”
In the amended New York complaint, Grossberg says that during deposition prep sessions Fox lawyers showed her two text message exchanges from Nov. 8 and Nov. 9, 2020, about “a particularly troubling [on-air] segment in which Rudy Giuliani made unfounded allegations about widespread election fraud.” She says that the messages showed it had been “pre-taped” and thus could have been edited or prevented from airing but that David Clark, then the network’s senior vice president of weekend news, had chosen not to keep it off the air.
To cover up the omission, Grossberg says, the Fox attorneys coached her to say the segment was “live to tape” to imply it could not have been edited between taping and airing. “The Fox News Attorneys knew full well, however,” says the complaint, that what they were “trying to bully Ms. Grossberg to weave into her testimony was materially misleading.”
The errata sheet filed Monday as an exhibit with the Delaware amended complaint repeats Grossberg’s allegation that Fox News lawyers canceled her initial deposition late the night before it was to have taken place. She states in the new filing that “I have good reason to believe that it was because Fox wanted to prep me one more time and coach me into making statements that would make me look bad and incompetent, and thus ruin my career, while distancing the parent company from at least some of the otherwise substantial liability award because the Fox attorneys were trying to scapegoat me as inexplicably incompetent.”
Dominion’s attorneys asked during the deposition whether she trusted the producers at Fox with whom she worked. She had answered yes, but she amended that to say she did not trust all of the producers because “they’re activists, not journalists and impose their political agenda on the programing,” and she says she had caught someone she worked with plagiarizing.
Grossberg said in the errata sheet that Dominion-related reporting did not receive the same editorial oversight — including editing of questionable content — as other stories, stating that “Dominion-related reporting … was allowed to receive significant airplay without any evidence implicating them in any way.”
A spokesperson for Fox has said, “Her allegations in connection with the Dominion case are baseless and we will vigorously defend Fox against all of her claims.”