Fox News host Jeanine Pirro sued for defamation

FILE - In this March 26, 2016, file photo, Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson chats with campaign volunteers in Baltimore. Mckesson, is suing Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, claiming she defamed him while discussing a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter movement that was later dismissed. The suit, which also names Fox News Network, was filed in New York on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

A civil rights activist is suing Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, claiming she defamed him while discussing a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter movement that was later dismissed

NEW YORK — A civil rights activist is suing Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, claiming she defamed him while discussing a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter movement that was later dismissed.

The lawsuit states that DeRay McKesson was falsely arrested in 2016 while attending a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in which a police officer was struck in the face with a rock and seriously injured.

The officer sued the Black Lives Matter movement and McKesson for his injuries.

After the officer's lawsuit was dismissed, Pirro "made a series of outrageously false and defamatory statements about Mr. McKesson, including that he directed someone to hit the police officer in the face with a rock," McKesson's lawsuit said.

Pirro's statements, which were made during an appearance on the Fox News show "Fox & Friends," were extremely dangerous and continue to endanger McKesson, the lawsuit said.

Fox News said Pirro's statements are protected speech.

"We informed Mr. McKesson's counsel that our commentary was fully protected under the First Amendment and the privilege for reports of judicial proceedings. We will defend this case vigorously," the statement said.

The suit, which also names Fox News Network, was filed in New York on Tuesday.

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 mph (192 kph) in a 65 mph (105 kph) zone in upstate New York.

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