Law

Don Lemon accuser drops assault lawsuit after remembering that he wasn’t assaulted after all

Maggie Baska May 3, 2022
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Journalist Don Lemon smiles at the camera while wearing a white shirt black bow tie and black suit jacket

A sexual assault lawsuit against journalist Don Lemon has been dropped after the accuser said his "recollection" of events was faulty. (Getty/Paul Morigi)

A man who sued Don Lemon for assault has dropped his allegation, admitting that the incident he described did not happen.

Dustin Hice filed a lawsuit against Lemon in 2019, claiming the CNN anchor had assaulted him a year before at a New York bar.

Lemon has categorically denied the allegations, and Hice was ordered by a court in March to pay $77,000 in attorneys fees to him.

In a new twist, Hice has now dropped the lawsuit and recanted his claims, blaming faulty memory.

Hice said he’d decided to drop the lawsuit after a “deep dive into [his] memory” revealed that the events on the night he met Lemon were “not what I thought they were”, Deadline reported. 

“After a lot of inner reflection and a deep dive into my memory, I have come to realize that my recollection of the events that occurred on the night in question when I first met CNN anchor Don Lemon were not what I thought they were when I filed this lawsuit,” Hice said. “As a result, I am dropping the case.”

Lemon’s lawyer Caroline Polisi said it was a good thing that Hice was finally able to “access his memory and recollect the correct version of events” on the night when he met Lemon.

Polisi added the legal battle has been a “long and difficult journey” for Lemon and said he’s decided to “remain silent” in the face of such a “vulgar attack on his character”. 

“Unfortunately, being a gay Black man in the media, he has had to deal with these sorts of attacks for quite some time,” Polisi said. 

She continued: “The court’s ruling fully vindicates Mr Lemon and brings an end to this abusive lawsuit. 

“This case was a crass money grab from its inception. Mr Lemon has never paid the plaintiff a dime over the course of this unfortunate spectacle, and he is looking forward to moving on with his life.”

Polisi also slammed the way the case was covered in many media outlets, saying it was a “case study in unethical and uninformed reporting”. 

Hice alleged in his lawsuit that Lemon “put his hand down the front of his own shorts” and “vigorously rubbed his genitalia” after the two men met in 2018. He also claimed that Lemon displayed a pattern of “aggression and hostility” during their interaction. 

Hice’s lawsuit argued that he had been humiliated by the alleged incident and had “withdrawn from friends and family”. 

The Advocate reported in March that Hice was ordered to pay Lemon a massive sum in attorneys’ fees and costs linked to “Hice’s destruction of evidence”. Additionally, the outlet reported that two witnesses that Hice had initially listed in the lawsuit were going to testify in Don Lemon’s defence. 

In a memorandum to the court, Polisi said Hice withheld one witness’ identity because she would “undercut” his “claims regarding the supposed assault”. She added the witness would also give testimony of Hice’s “own persistent, harassing” behaviour towards Don Lemon on the night of the alleged incident. 

 

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