Reporter Baits Fox News’ Eric Bolling: Bring On That $50 Million Lawsuit


All lawyered up and ready for a fight, The Huffington Post freelancer Yashar Alisays he “relishes the opportunity” for his high powered attorney to depose Fox News host Eric Bolling, who has slapped the reporter with a $50 million defamation lawsuit.

Ali’s story was published on Aug. 4. The network quickly suspended the TV anchor while the infamous Paul Weiss law firm investigates the claim that he sent a picture of his genitals to female coworkers at Fox News and Fox Business.

The alleged deed happened “several” years ago. But some 14 anonymous sources later, Ali recently resurrected its relevancy.

Ever since Gretchen Carlson effectively sued former Fox News President Roger Ailes, who is now dead, the network has handled all behavioral matters with great sensitivity. Carlson reeled in $20 million in a settlement.

Bolling reacted to Ali’s story in HuffPost by personally hitting him with a lawsuit.

Appearing on CNN Sunday by phone, Ali stressed his youth as a reason why Bolling may feel he can go after him and brashly told “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter that he can’t wait for the discovery process.

Ali “relishes the opportunity” to see Bolling deposed by his lawyer, Patty Glaser, who The Hollywood Reporter dubs a “powerhouse litigator.” Glaser, who has repped the likes of Keith Olbermann and Rush Limbaugh, said she will pursue “sanctions” if Bolling doesn’t drop the suit.

See Ali’s conversation with Stelter below (bolding is mine):

STELTER: What is the latest in your case?  You’ve hired a high-profile attorney, Patty Glaser, who has responded with a letter to Bolling.  Is that right?

ALI: That’s right.  Patty sent the lawyer — the letter on Friday and we have not heard back from Eric’s attorney yet, and we’ll see what happens.  You know, he’s — if he wants to get into a fight with me, I’m happy to take it on.

STELTER: He is suing you for defamation.  Why is he wrong?

ALI: He’s wrong because I spent three months on this story.  As you said, I have 14 sources.  I’ve spoken to the victims and that’s on a factual basis.  I know he’s wrong. …The best defense of defamation is the truth.  He is trying to intimidate me.  He sees me as a young reporter that may be scared by big lawsuits.

But if he wants to wade into this pond, I’m happy to go in with him.  And as I said on Friday, I look forward to Patty deposing Eric, and I look forward to discovery process.

It’s really important to note, Brian, that he’s suing me personally for $50 million.  He did not include “HuffPost”, which is owned by Verizon in this lawsuit.  If he wants $50 million, if you feel that you’ve been aggrieved and you deserve damages, you go after the multibillion-dollar conglomerate, not an individual reporter.

STELTER: Interesting.  Yes, FOX News has nothing do with this suit either.  It’s just Bolling personally suing you personally.  So, you think he’s just trying to intimidate you to silence you?

ALI:  Yes.  And, you know, that would normally be a good strategy, right?  You know, as I said, I’m a young reporter and, you know, most people would be scared by this.  My life history has given me a lot of experience to not be scared by these things, and in fact, I relish the opportunity to see and being deposed and to stand up for not only my First Amendment rights, the First Amendment Rights of many reporters who messaged me after this came out, saying that they would be scared by this kind of action.  …I’m not trying to turn myself into a representative for the media here, but I feel like I have to really fight this because of other reporters who would be frightened by this kind of action.

HuffPost has no problem footing the bill if Ali needs financing.

But he may not need it. He was, after all, a national co-chair and campaign bundler for Hillary Clinton‘s 2007 presidential run.

“Yashar Ali is a careful and meticulous reporter. We stand by his reporting,” HuffPost Editor-in-Chief Lydia Polgreen said in a statement provided to HuffPostmedia writer Michael Calderone. “Ali is a paid freelancer under contract with HuffPost. We have no hesitation about standing by him financially in this case.”

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