A district court judge in Texas has dismissed the defamation lawsuit filed by the father of “Clock Boy” Ahmed Mohamed on behalf of himself and his 15-year-old son, who became famous after a homemade clock was mistaken for a bomb at his school. The suit was filed in September against several conservatives, including Fox News, Glenn Beck, and the mayor of Irving.
Newly appointed District Court Judge Maricela Moore dismissed the lawsuit early Monday morning following a nearly three-hour hearing. The resulting decision saw the case against Glenn Beck and his network The Blaze, along with those against the Washington, D.C. based Center for Security Policy (CSP) and executive vice president Jim Hanson being dismissed. The Mohameds also have a separate case pending against the Irving School District.
PJ Media reports that the recent dismissal is on top of the December dismissal of the case against local Fox News affiliate and political commentator Ben Ferguson which was ordered by a different judge. Records show that the Mohameds were also ordered to pay more than $82,000 in legal fees. The Mohameds themselves filed the suit seeking up to $100,000 in damages, along with “nonmonetary relief.”
The suit came a year after the incident in 2015, which saw many of the conservatives named publishing statements which Ahmed Mohammed believes damaged his family’s reputation. After the teenager Ahmed was arrested claims were made by media personalities as well as the mayor that the family had knowingly created the “clock boy” incident at MacArthur High School. The suit claims that the comments led many to believe that the Muslim family had been seeking attention or perhaps were terrorists themselves. Following the brief detainment by the police Ahmed was also suspended from school for three days for carrying the “suspicious” clock invention to school to show to his shop teacher and was referred to Irving, Texas School’s administrators.
The officials believed the clock closely resembled a bomb and thus got the police involved. A massive nationwide uproar followed news of Ahmed’s arrest and he became known as “Clock boy.” Muslim civil rights groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other activists claimed that it was a case of Islamophobia which led to the boy getting arrested.
The President and others praised the boy for his invention, though, and the teenager and his family were invited for a visit to the White House. However, the critics were very vocal. Jim Hanson, the CSP executive had said during an interview with John Beck on his The Blaze TV show that he believed the entire case was nothing but “a PR stunt.”
“It’s a RadioShack clock that he put in a briefcase, and in a briefcase it looks like a bomb. They did that to create the exact scenario that played out.”
The Center for Security Policy was represented by the American Freedom Law Center and their senior counsel argued on Monday that Mohamed’s lawsuit was “a classic Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation or ‘SLAPP’ and as such should be dismissed.
According to Dallas News the defense which Beck and the other defendants named in the suit sought refuge in was a state law designed to counteract frivolous defamation cases. Texas actually has 28 state laws against SLAPP cases though and one gives defendants in a defamation suit up to 60 days from being served to file a motion to dismiss the case with the argument that free speech on a “matter of public concern” was being exercised. If the court agrees then the burden of proof is on the plaintiff and they must show “clear and specific” evidence of the defamation.
After the case was dismissed, senior counsel David Yerushalmi delivered a scathing message calling the lawsuit “yet another example of Islamist lawfare.” It is his belief that groups like CAIR use the mainstream media and lawsuits such as this to label “public criticism of a sharia-centric, jihad-driven Islam” as “Islamophobic.”
The case against Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne continues, but she has also challenged the suit.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]