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Black Lives Matter leader sues Fox News

14 December 2017

Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson is filing a defamation lawsuit against Fox News host Jeanine Pirro after she claimed he had directed violence against a Baton Rouge police officer in 2016.

A September 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.

McKesson says that Pirro, "a lawyer for over 40 years ... was aware that these outrageous statements were false and made them with the specific intention of harming Mr. McKesson", and that they did damage him. At the end of the "Fox and Friends" segment, Pirro noted that the police officer's case was dismissed, and that the case, brought by McKesson and other protesters, was eligible for settlement, according to the complaint.

In an interesting sidelight, according to the complaint, when The Washington Post published an article under the headline, "On 'Fox & Friends, ' Jeanine Pirro Slanders Black Lives Matter's DeRay McKesson", Pirro told the Post: "I was quoting paragraph 17 and 19 from court documents".

The complaint, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday, Dec. 12, stems from Pirro's comments about a protest sparked by the police shooting of Louisiana man Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016, the New York Daily News reported.

An anonymous police officer filed a separate suit, alleging he was hit in the face by a rock a protester threw.

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Responding to the lawsuit, a Fox News spokeswoman said the network "will defend this case vigorously", and that they consider Pirro's statements an exercise of First Amendment-protected free speech.

Mckesson lives in Baltimore, previously ran for mayor and served as the head of human resources for Baltimore's public schools.

Mckesson was among 185 arrested during the protests.

"It's clear that I did nothing wrong that day and that the police were the only violent people in the streets", Mckesson said. Another judge ruled in favor of the protesters, including Mckesson, and said they were eligible for payments ranging from $500 to $1,000.

"And in this particular case, DeRay Mckesson, the organizer, actually was directing people, was directing the violence", Pirro said, which was false, according to the complaint.

Last month, Pirro, a former Westchester County district attorney and host of the Fox News Channel show "Justice with Judge Jeanine", was issued a speeding ticket for driving 119 miles per hour in a 65 miles per hour zone in upstate NY.

Black Lives Matter leader sues Fox News