Score a victory for the former judge, and this one even came in court. Fox News personality and former political candidate Jeanine Pirro defeated a lawsuit that Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson brought against her on the basis of defamation. He originally sued Pirro at the end of 2017 because he felt defamed by her suggestion on her show that McKesson “directed” violence at a police officer from Louisiana, which McKesson denies, according to the New York Daily News.
Pirro’s show that eventually led to the lawsuit started by focusing on Black Lives Matter and interactions with Baton Rouge police. Interestingly enough, the former judge discussed the legality of a lawsuit being filed against Black Lives Matter, according to The Hollywood Reporter. One of the requirements for a successful defamation suit is for the person who is suing to actually be named in the potentially defamatory statement. Groups cannot generally be sued for defamation, unless the group is particularly small and specific, like a small band or sports team, where each person could reasonably be defamed by a statement. Saying something defamatory about an entire political party would not defame every single associated person, and the entire political party bringing a lawsuit would be ridiculous. A defamatory statement about a trio of political operatives could be a different story though. The same idea can apply to other areas of law.
The next part of Pirro’s show is what landed her in legal trouble. She talked about the settlement that came out of a case against the Baton Rouge police that Black Lives Matter filed, and she said that the situation resulted in “a police officer who was injured, he was injured at the direction of DeRay McKesson. Deray McKesson walks away with $100,000 for an organization that is amorphous. We got a problem in this country.” McKesson felt that this statement was defamatory. After Pirro did not respond to a lawyer working for McKesson, who asked for her to clarify and take back her statement, McKesson decided to take the matter to court.
New York Supreme Court Judge Robert Kalish wasn’t fond of a former judge not being more careful with her words, but Kalish didn’t fault Pirro because the comments in question could be credited to a cop instead. “Moreover, although the statement that the plaintiff-officer ‘was injured at the direction of DeRay McKesson’ may cause a reader to believe such if it is read in isolation,” the judge said, continuing that “viewing the entire video sequence as a whole it is clear that Pirro is expressing her opinion that the plaintiff-officer should be allowed to pursue his civil complaint against McKesson on the theory that McKesson may be held liable for the violent events that occurred during a demonstration that he allegedly led considering the allegations of the plaintiff-officer.”
Pirro not only comes off of this legal victory but is riding especially high now that her weekend Fox News show that the president loves so much and gets his policy ideas from is back on the air following a two-week hiatus. The channel appeared to pull her off the air following controversial comments she made about hijabs and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the freshman congresswoman who has stepped into it a bunch of times with anti-Semitic references.