Fox News Channel and Jeanine Pirro are preparing for a legal battle with Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson.
A Sept. 28 appearance on “Fox and Friends” has prompted a defamation lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court against FNC and its “Justice With Judge Jeanine” star. Mr. Mckesson, arguably the BLM movement’s most high-profile activist, claims his reputation as a civil rights leader was sullied by comments Ms. Pirro knew were false.
At issue is the Fox host’s assertion that a Louisiana police officer was injured during BLM protests in July 2016 “at the direction of DeRay Mckesson.”
“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,” Mr. Mckesson says in court documents obtained Tuesday by TMZ.
Ms. Pirro said on social media that her commentary was informed by a lawsuit brought by an anonymous officer. The case was filed after BLM activists and Mr. Mckesson reached a $136,000 settlement with Baton Rouge police over a different case.
The police officer alleged he was injured by a rock thrown by BLM protesters.
Judge Brian A. Jackson of U.S. District Court, Middle District of Louisiana dismissed the case, noting the movement’s non-hierarchical structure and the police officer’s failure to show how Mr. Mckesson incited violence.
“We informed Mr. Mckesson’s counsel that our commentary was fully protected under the First Amendment and the privilege for reports of judicial proceedings,” a Fox News spokesperson said in response to the lawsuit. “We will defend this case vigorously.”