A district judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by Fox News contributor Dan Bongino against the Daily Beast.
Judge Jose E. Martinez granted the publication’s motion on Thursday to dismiss the Secret Service agent-turned-conservative commentator’s $15 million lawsuit.
The lawsuit, which was filed in December, stemmed from an article about Bongino published by the Daily Beast. The piece, titled “Dan Bongino Out at NRATV,” noted that he and NRATV did not come to a contract extension. According to the Fox News contributor, the piece suggested that his “unfitness to perform the duties” led to the separation, which he claimed was defamatory.
“Because Plaintiff’s suit fails to state a claim for defamation, it was without merit under Florida Statute,” Martinez’s ruling read.
“Specifically, Plaintiff objects to the article’s statement that, ‘[t]he National Rifle Association’s media arm has dropped … Dan Bongino from its lineup of conservative commentators,’ because he, not NRATV, decided to end the employment relationship. Plaintiff claims this misrepresentation imputes to him an “unfitness to perform the duties” of his job as a political commentator and radio host. For those reasons, he charges Defendant with defamation and defamation by implication,” the ruling continued.
Bongino contended that two text messages from the Daily Beast reporter who wrote the story, which were not returned prior to the story’s publication, prove malicious intent. In the messages, the reporter said to Bongino, “Heart [sic] you didn’t renew with NRA TV?” and then four days later, “Just circling back on this. Probably publishing something today.”
However, the judge ruled that Bongino did not comply with Florida’s law requiring that the plaintiff must serve written notice “at least five days” before filing the complaint. The judge also noted that the commentator could refile the suit within the next two weeks if he “decided in good faith to amend his Complaint.”
Following the judge’s ruling, Bongino criticized a journalist who reported on it and repeatedly baited the Daily Beast reporter who wrote the story. That reporter also shared the news of the lawsuit getting dismissed.