*Fox News host Jeanine Pirro was smacked with a defamation lawsuit from Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson for alleging he directed violence against a Baton Rouge police officer in 2016.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, stems from Pirro’s commentary about a protest over the July 5, 2016 fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling. Mckesson, 32, had attended the march and was arrested, but charges against him were dismissed — and he and about 185 other protesters later settled a suit against the Baton Rouge police for $136,000.
An anonymous police officer filed a separate suit, alleging he was hit in the face by a rock a protester threw. The protester, the cop claimed, was incited by Mckesson. The cop named Mckesson and “Black Lives Matter” as defendants.
On Sept. 28, a federal judge in Louisiana threw out the officer’s lawsuit, ruling that Black Lives Matter was a social movement that could not be sued. The judge also ruled the cop failed to explain how Mckesson allegedly incited the violence.
Pirro said of the judge’s ruling on “Fox and Friends”: “In this particular case, Deray Mckesson, the organizer, actually was directing people, was directing the violence. You’ve got a police officer who was injured, he was injured at the direction of DeRay Mckesson, DeRay Mckesson walks away with a hundred thousand dollars, for an organization that is amorphous, we got a problem in this country.”
Mckesson’s lawsuit said Pirro’s comments have endangered his safety and seeks damages to be determined at trial, reports the New York Daily News.
“I was found not guilty & I didn’t direct any violence. In fact, I was protesting the violence of the police. Stop lying,” he tweeted at Pirro.
Pirro has said on Twitter she was relying on paragraphs from the cop’s lawsuit during her appearance. But Mckesson says she wrongly described them as “facts.”
“Pirro made these false statements of fact on the highest viewed morning cable show in the country, ‘Fox & Friends,’ which reaches over 1.7 million viewers,” Mckesson’s suit reads. “These statements of fact are false, and were either known to be false by Defendant Pirro or were made with reckless disregard for whether they were true.”
Fox News said it will fight the suit.
“We informed Mr. McKesson’s counsel that our commentary was fully protected under the First Amendment and the privilege for reports of judicial proceedings,” the network said.