Judge tosses suit over Trump affair story after Fox News argues no "reasonable viewer" takes Tucker Carlson seriously - 2020-09-25
A Manhattan judge has tossed out a defamation lawsuit against Fox News brought by the former Playboy model who took a $150,000 payoff to squelch her story of an affair with a pre-presidency Donald Trump. Karen McDougal had alleged in the suit filed late last year that Fox host Tucker Carlson slandered her by calling the payout "a classic case of extortion."
U.S. District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil ruled on Thursday that McDougal failed to prove that Carlson was accusing her of an actual crime in a way that would back up a defamation claim. The judge said that lawyers for Fox "persuasively" argued that "any reasonable viewer 'arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism' about the statements" Carlson makes, according to a court filing.
The judge called the on-air remarks "rhetorical hyperbole and opinion commentary intended to frame a political debate, and as such, are not actionable as defamation," the judge said in a written ruling.