A bartender who claimed CNN anchorman Don Lemon had assaulted him in a bar has dropped his lawsuit.

 In a statement, Dustin Hice said, “After a lot of inner reflection and a deep dive into my memory, I have come to realize that my recollection of the events that occurred on the night in question when I first met CNN anchor Don Lemon were not what I thought they were when I filed this lawsuit.”

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 As a result, I am dropping the case,” concluded the statement provided by Hice’s attorney Robert Barnes.

Alleged Assault Occurred In July 2018

The alleged assault was said to have occurred in July 2018 at Murfs Backstreet Tavern in Sag Harbor, New York. Hice was out with co-workers when he claimed to have met Lemon.

 Hice said he had offered to buy Lemon a drink but Lemon declined, saying he was “just trying to have a good time.”

 Hice, 41, made the accusation that later in the evening, Mr. Lemon, who was wearing a pair of shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt, put his hand down the front of his own shorts, and vigorously rubbed his genitalia, removed his hand and shoved his index and middle fingers into [Hices] moustache under [Hices] nose.”

 The complaint later went on to claim Lemon later asked Hice, “Do you like pussy or dick,” and continued to press his fingers into Hice’s face with “aggression and hostility.”

 In his assault claim, filed August 11, 2019, Hice said he was left “emotionally devastated by Mr. Lemons demeaning unprovoked and offensive assault,” and he was seeking damages for emotional pain and suffering.”

Hice said the alleged assault left him battling mental health issues which in turn prevented him from returning to his job as a bartender.

Lemon’s Attorney: ‘A Crass Money Grab’

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Lemon’s attorney, Caroline Polisi, in a statement, said, “This case was a crass money grab from its inception. Mr. Lemon has never paid the plaintiff a dime over the course of this unfortunate spectacle, and he is looking forward to moving on with his life.” 

 “This has been a long and difficult journey for Don,” Polisi said. “Out of respect for the judicial process and my advice, he has had to remain silent in the face of a malicious and vulgar attack on his character.”

 “Unfortunately, being a gay Black man in the media, he has had to deal with these sorts of attacks for quite some time. The Courts ruling fully vindicates Mr. Lemon and brings an end to this abusive lawsuit,” Polisi said.

 CNN supported Lemon and said in a statement made at the time Hice made the complaint, The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts.”

 Amongst Hice’s tweets was one that claimed, “CNN supports and enables sexual predators,” 

 This claim follows his unsuccessful threats and demands for an exorbitant amount of money from Don Lemon. Don categorically denies these claims, and this matter does not merit any further comment at this time,” CNN said.

 There were also suggestions that Lemon was being extorted for $1.5 million to stop the lawsuit.

Witness Recanted Testimony

 The lawsuit was dropped after two witnesses testifying for Hice contradicted under oath the events which Hice had alleged to have occurred, saying they did not witness any emotional distress on Hice’s part that evening.

 George Gounelas, a friend of Hice who supported the claims of assault, recanted their testimony after attorneys said Hice had offered to pay Gounelas for corroborating his assault claim.

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Isabel Peters, who was out with Hice and Gounelas on the night in question, said Hice actually followed Lemon from one bar to another, and continued to offer to buy Lemon drinks.

Hice ‘Did The Very Thing He is Accusing Don Lemon of Doing’

William Erdmann, who was on Lemon’s witness list, testified that Hice had subjected him to the very same manner of assault that Hice claimed Lemon had done to him.

 Erdmann, who was a former classmate of Hice, saw him on the Megyn Kelly Show and tweeted, “Wouldn’t you know it, I went to High School with Dustin Hice. In high school, he and his friends did the VERY THING he is accusing Don Lemon of doing to me! He and his friends bullied me so badly for being gay that I had to switch high schools my Junior year. His claims are fake.”

 In his deposition, Erdmann said, “On one occasion, while Mr. Hice was sitting across from me in math class, Mr. Hice put his hands down the front of his pants and made a dramatic show of moving his hand around vigorously, giving the impression that he was making contact with his genitals.”

 “After removing his hand from his pants, he moved closer to my desk and said, ‘smell my finger’ while simultaneously shoving his finger under my nose, causing his friends to laugh at me,” Erdmann said.

 Journalist and former talk show host, Megyn Kelly, tweeted her belief that Hice had been paid off. “There is zero chance they didnt give Dustin Hice a nice fat check,” Kelly said.

Hice Ordered to Pay Lemon’s Attorneys’ Fees

 Lemon’s attorney, Caroline Polisi, in a statement contradicted this allegation, saying, “The only monetary judgment in this case came from the Court ordering Mr. Hice to pay Mr. Lemon’s attorneys’ fees because of his egregious misconduct in this litigation. Not a single penny was paid by Don Lemon or any of his representatives to Mr. Hice or anyone having anything to do with Mr. Hice.”

 The judge presiding over the case has ordered Hice to pay Lemon’s attorneys’ fees totalling $77,000 for failing to provide evidence during the discovery phase of the trial.

 US Magistrate Judge Thomas Locke said Hice had done nothing to preserve relevant evidence here and in fact got rid of some of it, whether or not on purpose.” 

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