- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 14, 2018

A West Point drummer with an axe to grind against “Fox & Friends” co-host Peter Hegseth has filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court over a potentially deadly incident aired live on television.

Attorneys representing percussionist Jeff Prosperie filed a negligence suit Tuesday against Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” the program’s co-host and a dozen other defendants nearly three years to the day after their client was allegedly struck by an axe thrown by Mr. Hegseth during a live episode of the morning television program.

Mr. Prosperie was performing with other members of the West Point’s Hellcats band outside of the Fox News studio in Manhattan for a “Fox & Friends” segment when he was hit with an axe lobbed by Mr. Hegseth on June 14, 2015, leaving him with “severe and serious personal injuries to his mind and body,” his attorneys alleged in the lawsuit.

Mr. Hegseth was attempting to throw an axe at a target placed between himself and the West Point band when he missed his mark and hit the drummer instead, according to the lawsuit and video footage available online. The incident allegedly left Mr. Prosperie with “severe and serious personal injuries to his mind and body,” his attorneys wrote, including “permanent effects of pain, disability, disfigurement and loss of body function.”

Mr. Hegseth acted “negligent, wanton, reckless and careless in, among other things, throwing an axe in an area where he knew or should have known that pedestrians were present; in not properly securing the area, in not adequately checking to see if the area was secure;in attempting to throw an axe in public when not properly able; in attempting to throw an axe in public without proper training and in failure to properly look for pedestrians while performing a dangerous act in public,” the lawsuit says.

A total of 15 defendants are named in the lawsuit, including several companies affiliated with Fox News and an unnamed “Fox & Friends” producer accused of arranging the set in “a negligent, careless, and inadequate manner.”

“The incident involving Jeff Prosperie from 2015 was unfortunate and completely unintentional,” Fox News said in a statement to The Washington Times. “FOX News immediately apologized to Prosperie and offered medical assistance, which he declined saying he was ‘okay.’ The network also offered compensation, which he declined as well. We have not heard from Prosperie since 2015, so the lawsuit is surprising and we are reviewing it.”

“I am thankful to God that the double sided blade only hit broadside on the outer elbow with significant impact and a couple of cuts as it fell along my wrist,” Mr. Prosperie said in a Facebook post shortly after the incident first happened. “It could have been much worse or fatal.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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