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Judge dismisses Glenn Beck, The Blaze from ‘clock boy’ defamation lawsuit

Ahmed Mohamed, known as “Clock Boy,” was detained by police in 2015 after bringing a homemade clock to school.
Ahmed Mohamed, known as “Clock Boy,” was detained by police in 2015 after bringing a homemade clock to school. AP

A Dallas County judge has dismissed political commentator Glenn Back and his TV network, The Blaze, from a defamation lawsuit filed by the family of Ahmed Mohamed, the Irving teen who was detained in 2015 after bringing a homemade clock to school.

Judge Marciela Moore made the ruling Monday, according to court records. Moore also dismissed the Center for Security Policy, a Washington D.C. conservative think tank, and its vice president Jim Hanson from the lawsuit.

Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne remains a defendant, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Mohamed was a freshman at Irving MacArthur High School in September 2015 when he was scrutinized for possibly having a fake bomb, not a homemade clock. The incident drew international attention, and Mohamed took on the nickname of “clock boy.”

Right wing websites claimed that the clock incident was planned with the intent of making Ahmed a celebrity, while civil rights activists stood strong behind the teen.

Mohamed’s family filed the lawsuit against Beck and others in September, alleging that The Blaze aired “false and malicious content” about Mohamed during a segment featuring Beck, Hanson and Van Duyne.

Beck, according to the lawsuit, proposed that the incident with Mohamed — who was handcuffed after his teacher thought his homemade clock might have been a bomb — was being used as a “dog whistle” for Islamists to take a stand.

Hanson agreed with Beck, according to the lawsuit, and said, “I don’t think there’s any question that this latest event was a PR stunt.”

“They wanted people to react, and they wanted to portray this kid as an innocent victim,” Hanson said. “I think he was a pawn of potentially his father.”

The lawsuit said Van Duyne “did not object to or correct any of the comments.”

The lawsuit also said that Van Duyne told Fox 4 News (KDFW) that Mohamed was “not forthcoming with information.”

Political commentator Ben Ferguson and Fox 4 were also sued by Mohamed’s family for on-air comments about the incident, but Ferguson and the TV station were dismissed from the lawsuit in December.

Beck and others dismissed in the lawsuit were protected under the state’s Anti-SLAPP statute, which is designed to quash frivolous defamation cases, according to the Morning News.

“Mr. Beck and TheBlaze are pleased at the Court's faithful application of First Amendment principles pursuant to the Texas Citizen Participation Act, the very purpose of which is to protect freedom of speech by mandating the summary dismissal of unmeritorious defamation claims,” Beck's attorney Michael J. Grygiel said in a statement to the Morning News.

Hanson issued a statement on the Center for Security Policy’s website Tuesday:

“This ruling reaffirms our most fundamental liberty — the right to free expression — and punishes [Mohamed’s father] and his allies for attempting to suppress ideas they oppose,” Hanson said.

Fort Worth attorney Susan Hutchison, who is representing Mohamed’s family, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Mohamed’s family also has a pending federal discrimination lawsuit against the City of Irving and the Irving school district, alleging his rights were violated during the 2015 lawsuit.

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