About a year after CNN host Don Lemon first faced allegations of sexual assault and was hit with a lawsuit, the details of accuser Dustin Hice’s account have been overshadowed by much weightier news stories in the interceding months.
As Fox News reported, however, the lawsuit has returned to the front burner after documents filed in court this week paved the way for the case to move forward after months of delays.
“It’s been dragged out”
Hice cited the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in pushing back the discovery phase of his suit, which was filed in hard-hit New York.
“It was the most degrading, humiliating thing I’ve ever been through and it’s been dragged out,” he said, according to Fox. “I hate it.”
In a complaint initially filed in August, Hice accused Lemon of committing a lewd sexual act while they were at Murf’s Backstreet Tavern in New York the previous summer, Fox reported.
Attorneys representing both sides have agreed on a joint proposed discovery order filed with the court on Friday, which will expedite the remainder of the case. The order specifies that all written discovery demands must be filed by July 20 and the discovery phase faces a Dec. 15 deadline.
Unless new experts are introduced to the case, all motions must be filed by Feb. 15, and final deadlines for discovery and motions are set for April 5 and May 28, respectively.
“Speculative, hypothetical, unsupported”
“We have now moved into the discovery phase and we have some time here… We all are going to be deposed,” Hice said in response to the latest development, according to Fox. “The witnesses are going to be deposed, the facts are going to come to the light and I’m very confident that when this is all said and done, that [Lemon] will be held accountable.”
Hice also said that he rejected a “six-figure settlement” before filing the complaint, saying that his life has “essentially been on pause” ever since.
CNN has not responded to a request for comment, according to Fox News, and Lemon’s attorney provided a response in a court filing earlier this month. Caroline Polisi described the allegations as “speculative, hypothetical, unsupported by any reasonable methodology” and “not cognizable as a matter of law.”
Hice has said the process has been “draining and exhausting,” but that he is currently focused on ensuring that “accountability will happen.”
While this allegation involves a public figure with his own CNN show, justice should be blind in this and every case. Both sides deserve their day in court, and the resolution should reflect a fair consideration of the facts presented.