Author of HuffPost Article Fights Possible Defamation Suit by Fox News Host

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The author of a HuffPost article that prompted the suspension of the Fox News host Eric Bolling is fighting back against a possible $50 million defamation suit by Mr. Bolling.

A lawyer for Yashar Ali, the author of the Aug. 4 article, said Mr. Ali had not published defamatory statements in the article, which cited a dozen sources who said that Mr. Bolling had “sent an unsolicited photo of male genitalia via text message to at least two colleagues at Fox Business and one colleague at Fox News.”

The day after the article was published, Fox News said it had suspended Mr. Bolling pending an investigation into the accusations.

“Truth is always a defense to defamation,” Patricia L. Glaser, the lawyer for Mr. Ali, said in a letter sent on Friday to Mr. Bolling’s lawyer. Ms. Glaser copied Dianne Brandi, the top lawyer at Fox News, on the letter.

Ms. Glaser demanded that Mr. Bolling dismiss the legal action immediately and warned that should Mr. Bolling refuse, he could face legal claims for “malicious prosecution.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Bolling took a first step toward a defamation lawsuit against Mr. Ali by filing a summons that cited what it described as Mr. Ali’s “efforts to injure the plaintiff’s reputation through the intentional and/or highly reckless publication of actionable false and misleading statements about the plaintiff’s conduct and character.” Mr. Bolling seeks at least $50 million in reputational, monetary and punitive damages and other costs.

Addressing the legal standard for defamation, Ms. Glaser asserted that Mr. Ali had conducted a thorough investigation before publishing the article and that there was no evidence of actual malice. She added that Mr. Bolling was a public figure and not entitled to damages.

“We welcome the opportunity to depose Mr. Bolling and review his message history, as we presume that you have instructed him to preserve communications,” Ms. Glaser said.

HuffPost was not named in the summons, but the news organization has said it had would stand by Mr. Ali financially.

In the letter, Ms. Glaser attacked Mr. Bolling’s tactics to target Mr. Ali personally as a “calculated effort to harass and intimidate Mr. Ali personally.”

“Continuing litigation will only reveal that Mr. Bolling’s lawsuit was filed for public relations purposes and to retaliate against Mr. Ali for uncovering the truth,” she said.

Both Mr. Ali and Mr. Bolling have hired high-powered lawyers. Ms. Glaser has previously represented Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann, Ryan Seacrest and Conan O’Brien.

Mr. Bolling, who was most recently a host of “The Fox News Specialists,” is represented by Michael J. Bowe of the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres. Marc E. Kasowitz, one of the firm’s partners, is a longtime personal lawyer for President Trump who has also represented Bill O’Reilly, the former Fox News host who was ousted in April amid allegations of sexual harassment.

In a statement Friday, Mr. Bowe said: “It is ironic and telling that Ms. Glaser accuses us of a publicity stunt in a letter she has yet to send me and that I learned about from The New York Times. She is right about one thing. No evidence has been produced about these claims, and that is why we filed suit so that the evidence and truth will come out.”