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Lachlan Murdoch sues Australian website over Jan. 6 criticism

Lachlan Murdoch, the top executive at Fox Corp., is suing an Australian news website for publishing an opinion article linking his family and Fox News to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Murdoch, the son of Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch, filed a state of claim in Australian federal court on Tuesday against Crikey, an online news and opinion website, after the site’s leaders had challenged Murdoch to sue them in an open letter earlier this week.

The article in question mostly focused on former President Trump’s actions as it relates to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, but argued in its last paragraph that if Trump “ends up in the dock” for any crimes committed as president, “not all his co-conspirators will be there with him.”

“Nixon was famously the ‘unindicted co-conspirator’ in Watergate,” stated the op-ed, written by Bernard Keane, Crikey’s politics editor. “The Murdochs and their slew of poisonous Fox News commentators are the unindicted co-conspirators of this continuing crisis.”

After the June 29 op-ed was published, Murdoch alleged that the article defamed him, Crikey said in an editor’s note attached to the original article.

On Monday, the outlet published a series of demands it says it was sent by Murdoch’s legal representatives following the op-ed’s publication, which argued the article was an “unwarranted attack on my client, without any notice and in complete disregard to the facts” and “is malicious and aggravates the harm to my client.”

“We are publishing these letters because we believe they expose the normally concealed world of Australian media power, in its most bullying form,” the outlet said in response as part of its open letter.

A representative for Fox Corp. and Murdoch declined to comment.

The New York Times noted the back-and-forth between Murdoch and Crikey is not the first. Last year, Crikey apologized and deleted an article that contained false claims about Murdoch’s time as a TV network board member, the Times reported.

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