Almost three years after CNN anchor and Sag Harbor resident Don Lemon was accused of assaulting a man in Murf’s Backstreet Tavern in Sag Harbor in 2018, accuser Dustin Hice has dropped the lawsuit, reports Deadline.
“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, completely rolling back his story of Lemon’s no-longer-alleged assault and the emotional distress he had claimed it caused. “As a result, I am dropping the case,” the statement, sent out by attorney Robert Barnes, explained.
Hice dropping the case and his admission that his recollection of the so-called assault was flawed came about weeks after a March 24 ruling from U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Locke ordered Hice to pay Lemon $77,119.33 in attorney fees and costs based on Hice violating court rules. According to the ruling, Hice had failed to disclose evidence — text messages, photographs and videos from his cellphone — for Lemon’s legal team during the discovery portion of the trial, and he had attempted to bribe a witness.
The undisclosed documents, revealed after two witnesses for Hice had recanted testimony supporting his allegations against Lemon, brought Hice’s credibility into question, and his case was further harmed after one of his former witnesses produced among the previously undisclosed text messages, a conversation in which Hice offered to pay the witness if he won his case against Lemon.
At the time, however, Judge Locke refused Lemon’s request to dismiss the case entirely. But Hice has now taken care of that for him.
“Thankfully Mr. Hice was finally able to access his memory and recollect the correct version of events on the night when he approached Don Lemon. The Court’s ruling fully vindicates Mr. Lemon and brings an end to this abusive lawsuit,” Lemon’s attorney Caroline Polosi said in a statement, calling the entire suit a “crass money grab” from the start, according to multiple media outlets who received the statement.
“Unfortunately, being a gay Black man in the media, he has had to deal with these sorts of attacks for quite some time,” Polosi continued.
Lemon, in the meantime, is awaiting his payment of more than $77,000, which Hice still owes and is likely just a portion of what the CNN anchor paid for his defense. Lemon had originally asked Judge Locke to sanction Hice for $106,490.38, but the judge cut that number by nearly $30,000.