NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel asked a federal court on Wednesday to throw out a lawsuit by former host Andrea Tantaros, saying her claims that "sock puppet" Twitter accounts were set up to harass her were false.
Fox said in court papers filed Wednesday that a Twitter feed allegedly set up under a false identity is instead operated by a retired man from Gainesville, Florida. Tantaros charged that the account posted items meant to let her know her conversations were under surveillance, but Fox said the posts weren't directed by the network and had innocent purposes.
The claims by Tantaros' lawyer Judd Burstein are "at best, a paranoid fantasy and at worst, a deliberate hoax," Fox argued in court papers filed with the U.S. District Court. The network said Burstein's intention is to pressure Fox "to accede to Tantaros' extortionate settlement demands."
Burstein, however, said Fox has handed him a "smoking gun" of evidence that it had been spying on her conversations.
The lawyer said Fox had made reference to a deleted tweet that the Florida man had sent to Tantaros seeking an autograph. Burstein said the tweet had been deleted shortly after he had discussed it over the phone with Tantaros for use in her lawsuit — and that the man himself had testified that he personally did not delete it.
Fox also said it wants its lawyer fees paid, Burstein referred for disciplinary action and a ruling prohibiting Tantaros and Burstein from filing any additional lawsuits against Fox.