Bill O’Reilly summoned a New Jersey man to court, accusing Michael Panter of “making defamatory and false” statements about him via Facebook. O’Reilly wants a sum of not less than $5 million for his trouble.
Panter is a one-time New Jersey politician who took to Facebook on Tuesday to write about how the one-time Fox News Channel star treated a former girlfriend of his after she had accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment. The summons says O’Reilly believes he has been defamed.
In the Facebook post, Panter offered details of how O’Reilly purportedly called his ex-girlfriend and solicited information from her about another woman who had also made harassment allegations against the former Fox News star.
O’Reilly was ousted from Fox News Channel in April, in the wake of revelations that he had paid out $13 million in settlements to women who had accused him of sexual harassment and other types of unwelcome behavior. More recently, a new disclosure revealed O’Reilly had paid out a separate settlement of $32 million to another woman – and that 21st Century Fox knew about the issue, though not the cost.
Speaking Thursday on his streaming-video program, O’Reilly told viewers he intended to take legal action against people he felt were spreading inaccurate information about him
In doing so, however, O’Reilly could open himself up to a discovery process that would investigate the details Panter revealed. Another Fox News personality, Eric Bolling, filed suit against a journalist, Yashar Ali, who reported and published a story in The Huffington Post about his behavior at Fox News. Ali hired his own attorney and tweeted, “My lawyer just sent this letter to Eric Bolling’s lawyer. I look forward to her taking his deposition and the discovery process.” A person familiar with the matter said Bolling has until December to file a more formal complaint in order to continue the matter before the court.