A federal judge dismissed the defamation suit filed by Michael Avenatti against Fox News late Friday. The former lawyer to Stormy Daniels sued over coverage of his 2018 arrest on suspicion of domestic violence, but judge Stephanos Bibas found the network’s statements to be “substantially true.” Bibas wrote, “Fox News covered his arrest. He sued, claiming that its reporting defamed him. But most of its statements were substantially true. And Avenatti does not plausibly plead that Fox or its employees knew that the statements were false or recklessly disregarded that possibility. He also fails to allege any recoverable damages.” Avenatti was sentenced last month to two and a half years in prison for attempting to bilk Nike for $20 million in extortion money. He is also on trial for alleged embezzlement from his clients, which he denies.
“We are pleased with the Court’s swift decision in favor of FOX News,” a Fox News Media said in a statement. “Today’s ruling is a victory for journalists everywhere, who should not be intimidated into silence when bullies like Michael Avenatti file baseless multimillion-dollar lawsuits.”