Sean Hannity threatens to sue 'lying' John Fetterman for calling him a liar
According to reporting in Rolling Stone, former President Donald Trump is feeling very pessimistic about Dr. Mehmet Oz’s U.S. Senate campaign in Pennsylvania, warning allies that Oz is going to “f*****g” lose that race to Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee, if he doesn’t find some way to turn his campaign around. Fox News’ Sean Hannity, a strident Oz supporter, is obviously furious that Fetterman is ahead in so many polls — and the long-time Fox host raged against Fetterman during a Tuesday night, August 23 rant on his show. Hannity even threatened to sue Fetterman, accusing the candidate of “lying” about him and “raising money off of” his name.
“He apparently sent yet another fundraising text today attacking me, lying about me (and) calling me a liar,” Hannity said of Fetterman. “Every day (that) he lies about me, I will continue to tell the truth about his radical, extreme positions (that are) way out of touch with the hard-working people of Pennsylvania. By the way, my trust-fund-brat friend, I will attack you back 10 to 100 times harder because you are a lying loser and raising money for your losing campaign…. He may be hearing from my lawyers very shortly. He better hope that mommy and daddy have enough money to pay his legal bills.”
In one of his fundraising messages, according to the Fox News host, Fetterman said of Hannity, “Can you please rush a donation of $25 right now to help me.… fight back against future Fox News attacks? We’ve got to counter Sean Hannity with as much grass roots support as possible.’”
Hannity was unclear about exactly what type of lawsuit he would like to file against Fetterman. If it’s a defamation lawsuit, Hannity would have a steep hill to climb, according to the standard established by the U.S. Supreme Court in its New York Times v. Sullivan ruling of 1964. The Warren Court, in that unanimous decision, said that a plaintiff in a defamation lawsuit must show “actual malice.” And heated rhetoric in the course of political debating — such as Hannity and Fetterman accusing one another of lying — wasn’t the type of thing the Warren Court had in mind. President Barack Obama didn’t threaten to sue Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina for shouting “You lie!” at him during a 2009 speech on health care.
Although Hannity described Fetterman’s U.S. Senate race as a “losing campaign,” polls haven’t been showing that at all. A poll released by the Trafalgar Group on August 22 showed Oz trailing Fetterman by about 5 percent. But other polls released in August have looked much worse for Oz, including a Public Opinion Strategies poll showing Fetterman ahead by 18 percent. A Fox News poll released in late July showed Fetterman ahead by 11 percent.
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