Court hears Crikey used Murdoch lawsuit as pre-meditated grifting ploy

A legal battle between News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch and radical left-wing publication Crikey took an unexpected turn in the Federal Court of Sydney, with allegations of a marketing ploy by Crikey resulting in a "windfall" of new subscriptions.

Court hears Crikey used Murdoch lawsuit as pre-meditated grifting ploy
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In a hearing in the Federal Court in Sydney, Lachlan Murdoch accused online publisher Crikey of deliberately inviting a lawsuit as a marketing ploy, it has been reported

Murdoch's lawyer told the court that Crikey made a "windfall" of half a million dollars in new subscriptions after he filed defamation proceedings against them in August 2022 over a June 29 article.

The article bizarrely named the Murdoch family as "unindicted co-conspirators" in the wake of the 2021 US Capitol riots.

The lawyer further alleged that Crikey had achieved its "commercial objective" and internal documents showed that the publisher intended to republish the article in August 2022 as part of a marketing campaign.

In response, the court granted Murdoch leave to expand his case to include the republished article, putting "an entirely new complexion on the case." The trial has been rescheduled to October 9.

However, Crikey's legal team maintained that they only had to prove that they reasonably believed publishing the article was in the public interest when it was first posted on June 29.

The defense counsel also hinted that they would run a new form of public interest defense in response to the amendment.

The court also permitted Murdoch to expand his case to name the chairman and CEO of Private Media, the publisher of Crikey, as respondents to the lawsuit, alongside journalist Bernard Keane and Crikey editor-in-chief Peter Fray.

Overall, the hearing revealed a new twist in the ongoing legal battle between Lachlan Murdoch and Crikey framed as a 'David vs Goliath' freedom of the press battle.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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