Don Lemon’s alleged assault case will be heading to trial in January, but the plaintiff in the case has now been sanctioned by the judge. Lemon is accused of physically and verbally abusing a bartender during a 2018 incident in the Hamptons, an allegation that the 55-year-old CNN anchor has vigorously denied.
Origins Of Don Lemon Assault Case
The bartender, a man by the name of Dustin Hice, filed the lawsuit in 2019 and has now found himself being forced to pay a portion of Lemon’s legal bills after it was revealed that he’d deleted evidence in the case. By the time the assault case heads to trial next month, the lawsuit against CNN anchor Don Lemon will have entered its third year.
The case stems from an incident in 2018 while Lemon was enjoying a night out at Murf’s Backstreet Tavern in the Hamptons. Dustin Hice, who was working at the time as a bartender in a separate establishment, claimed he recognized Lemon while out with his colleagues.
According to his suit, Hice approached Lemon and offered to buy him a drink, but his offer was declined. The two reportedly had no further contact until an unspecified time later, when Hice claimed Lemon approached him, “put his hand down the front of his own shorts, and vigorously rubbed his genitalia, removed his hand and shoved his index and middle fingers into [Hice’s] mustache,” the suit alleges.
Lemon then supposedly asked Hice about his sexual preferences while using coarse language as he continued to thrust his fingers in Hice’s face with “aggression and hostility.” Hice said he left the bar after the “demeaning unprovoked and offensive assault,” though he later returned five to ten minutes later. By then, according to files, Lemon was gone.
Where The Case Stands Today
Hice has now been sanctioned by the magistrate on the case after it was discovered that he made contradictory statements during an earlier deposition and that he engaged in “egregious” behavior after filing the suit. This includes concealing unfavorable witnesses, destroying text messages, and deleting social media posts. Hice was accused of deleting his entire Twitter account just a week after filing the suit.
Lemon’s attorneys suggested in court filings that this behavior “directly undermined [Hice’s] factual allegations and claims of ‘emotional distress.’” The judge apparently agreed, at least in part, and recommended that Lemon be awarded with “reasonable attorney’s fees associated with Hice’s deletion of evidence.”
Hice has previously been described in a CNN statement as a person who has “previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts.” The statement continued, “This claim follows his unsuccessful threats and demands for an exorbitant amount of money from Don Lemon. Don categorically denies these claims and this matter does not merit any further comment at this time.”
A former lawyer for Hice struck back at CNN’s claims at the time, telling People in a statement, “The assertion that Mr. Hice would put himself through the painful process of filing a sexual assault lawsuit against his attacker all because he doesn’t like a cable TV station is ludicrous.”
He accused the media giant of “resorting to victim-blaming” in its attempt to distract from “Mr. Lemon’s gross sexual misconduct.” That attorney withdrew from the case in February of this year and was replaced by Robert Barnes, an attorney, and pro-Trump YouTuber. Barnes has affirmed to People that he intends to contest the magistrate’s latest recommendation. We will continue to monitor this story and provide updates.
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