Glenn Beck is being sued by a man he falsely accused of having ties to the Boston Marathon bombing last year.
Abdulrahman Alharbi, a 20-year-old student, is suing Beck and his distributors -- The Blaze Inc., Mercury Radio Arts and Premiere Radio Networks -- for one count of defamation and one count of defamation with malice.
Alharbi, a Saudi who received a full scholarship from Saudi Arabia to study in the U.S., was taking a year of preparatory English courses in Boston before formally starting college. He says he was at the marathon route for only about 10 minutes last April 15 before the Tsarnaev brothers allegedly detonated their homemade bombs near the finish line. Alharbi was wounded in the blast and was immediately investigated by federal officials after fleeing the chaotic scene.
Federal authorities cleared him of all involvement, but various media outlets, mostly right-wing conspiracy websites and pundits, continued to connect him to the bombings.
Beck and The Blaze were perhaps the worst offenders. Beck asserted that Alharbi was the “money man” who funded the Marathon bombings and criticized federal officials for not investigating him further.
Beck also used Alharbi to attack and discredit the Obama administration. He threatened to "reveal" information he had "proving" the Boston bombings were a "false flag" operation by the federal government. Beck claimed he had insider information to support his claim, but his claims turned out to be without foundation.
“We know who this Saudi national is, and it is in your best interest and in the best interest of integrity and trust for the people of the United States (for it to come from you)… you have until Monday," Beck said, pointing his address in the direction of President Obama and the federal government. "We have information about who this man is, and listen to me carefully… we know he is a very bad, bad, bad man.”
The suit claims that Beck’s statements “were made widely and publicly… (and) were false and did grave injury to the plaintiff.”
Alharbi says he was accused of being a “murderer, child-killer and terrorist,” because of Beck’s broadcasts. He told Islamic Monthly that he feared for his safety. “I don’t know if I’m going to continue my studies,” he said. “I came in to study my bachelor’s. I have full scholarship from my country. I don’t know if I am gonna be safe from other people. Because, I lost my privacy. So that’s why I am really scared. So it’s not [an] easy thing to just forget.”
Ironically Beck filed a defamation claim with the World Intellectual Property Organization against the owners of the URL "GlennBEckRapedAndMurderedAYoungGirlIn1990.com" in 2009, but WIPO threw the claim out.
In January, Beck expressed regret for some of his antics while at Fox News. He said he played a role in "helping tear the country apart." He didn't mention his claims against Alharbi.