Glenn Beck Among Those Dismissed From ‘clock Boy' Defamation Suit

Glenn Beck, his television network and a conservative think tank have been dismissed from a defamation lawsuit filed by the father of Ahmed Mohamed, the Irving teen who became famous after his arrest for bringing a homemade clock to school.Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne remains a defendant, but she has challenged the suit.District Judge Maricela Moore on Monday tossed the claims against Beck and his network TheBlaze, plus those against the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy and executive vice president Jim Hanson. Another judge also dismissed the local FOX News affiliate and political commentator Ben Ferguson from the suit in December. He ordered that the Mohameds pay them more than $82,000 in legal feels, records show.Mohamed Mohamed filed the defamation complaint in September, a year after police escorted his son out of MacArthur High School and accused him of making a "hoax bomb." Mohamed argued that comments made by the mayor and media personalities led the public to believe that members of his family were terrorists who plotted the episode.Beck and others targeted in the suit have sought refuge in a state law designed to quash frivolous defamation cases. In Texas, a defendant in a defamation suit can file a motion to dismiss within 60 days of being served by arguing that she was exercising free speech in "matters of public concern." If the court agrees, then the plaintiff must show "clear and specific" evidence of defamation."Mr. Beck and TheBlaze are pleased at the Court's faithful application of First Amendment principles pursuant to the Texas Citizen Participation Act, the very purpose of which is to protect freedom of speech by mandating the summary dismissal of unmeritorious defamation claims," Beck's attorney Michael J. Grygiel wrote in an email.Hanson's national security think tank, which has been accused of being anti-Muslim by groups that monitor extremism, said in a news release that it was victorious in "defeating Sharia-Supremacism.""This ruling reaffirms our most fundamental liberty - the right to free expression - and punishes Mr. Mohammed and his allies for attempting to suppress ideas they oppose," Hanson said in a prepared statement.Mohamed Mohamed challenged comments that Beck made during a show that aired on TheBlaze. The suit says the host offered the theory that the clock bomb story was part of a larger conspiracy, possibly to "turn Texas blue" politically.Hanson, who was also sued, agreed with him, according to the suit. "I don't think there's any question that this latest event was a PR stunt," he said, adding that Ahmed Mohamed may have been a "pawn" of his father.Van Duyne didn't correct the statements and repeatedly accused the teen of not being forthcoming with investigators, according to the suit. The Mohameds also told the court that Van Duyne lied by stating on TV that the family was "non-responsive" to the city's requests to release information about the incident.Deputy city attorney Janet Spugnardi is representing Van Duyne. The attorney said Van Duyne was acting in her official capacity as mayor when she made the comments targeted in the suit."She was asked to appear on those shows as the mayor," Spugnardi said.The court has not yet scheduled a hearing on Van Duyne's motion to dismiss.  Continue reading...

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