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Fox News, Hannity to be added as defendants in Boebert defamation lawsuit, attorney says

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Fox News, Hannity to be added as defendants in Boebert defamation lawsuit, attorney says

Sep 25, 2023 | 4:37 pm ET
By Quentin Young
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Fox News, Hannity to be added as defendants in Boebert defamation lawsuit, attorney says
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Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) wears a "Make America Great Again" hat as she leaves the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 29, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Fox News, Sean Hannity and others will be added as defendants in a defamation lawsuit against Rep. Lauren Boebert, the plaintiff in the case said this week.

North Carolina political activist David Wheeler sued the Silt Republican in June, claiming she made multiple false statements about him and the political group he leads, American Muckrakers, which is also a plaintiff in the case.

His complaint, in U.S. District Court of Colorado, alleges Boebert made “maliciously false statements” about Wheeler and American Muckrakers on multiple occasions last summer, particularly during broadcasts of Hannity’s Fox News shows and on radio. Fox personality Tomi Lahren is also singled out in the complaint as having provided a platform for Boebert to allegedly defame Wheeler.

“They conspired with Lauren Boebert to defame me,” Wheeler said Monday. “I repeatedly asked to go on their news shows to discuss the allegations she was making against us and was either ignored or told ‘no’ over and over again while she continued to go on their shows bashing me.”

He also plans to add Lahren and Premiere Networks, a radio syndication service that handles “The Sean Hannity Show,” as defendants in the defamation suit. In an email he identified 10 other organizations and individuals, including members of Boebert’s staff, as defendants he plans to name in an amended complaint.

Newsline confirmed with Wheeler’s attorney, Dan Ernst, that he is preparing to add Hannity, Lahren, Fox News and Premiere Networks as defendants in an amended complaint this week. 

Newsline had not received a reply to emails seeking comment sent to Fox News and Premiere Networks by the time of publication.

Reached by phone Monday, Chicago-based attorney Steven P. Mandell, who according to documents reviewed by Newsline represented Fox News and Hannity as outside counsel as recently as April, declined to comment.

The super PAC American Muckrakers, which had previously worked to unseat former Republican U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, targeted Boebert last year as she sought a second term in Congress. Wheeler and Muckrakers, citing sources close to her, published unflattering information about Boebert.

In response, Boebert accused Wheeler and Muckrakers of publishing “false statements knowing they were completely fabricated,” characterized the statements as “defamation,” and said she was “moving forward with a lawsuit.”

She never followed through with her threat to sue Wheeler and Muckrakers, who now essentially claim that Boebert defamed Wheeler by falsely accusing him of defaming her.

Wheeler previously brought a similar lawsuit against Boebert in a North Carolina state court last year, but the judge dismissed the case, saying that the proper venue for it was in Colorado.

Last month, Boebert asked the Colorado court to dismiss Wheeler’s case, saying he failed to state a legally sufficient claim and that statements by her that form the basis of the lawsuit are protected by the First Amendment. She also said a new Colorado law that protects people who exercise First Amendment rights from the threat of lawsuits — known as an anti-SLAPP law — calls for the case to be dismissed.

Wheeler has until Friday to file a response.