Nearly three years after accusing the CNN anchor Don Lemon of sexually assaulting him at a bar on Long Island, Dustin Hice has retracted his allegations and completely shut down the case before it even got to trial. He has since claimed he misremembered the story outlined in his initial filing.

Hice had accused Lemon of groping his genitals in a 2018 interaction, but following courtroom drama including two witnesses contradicting his story and Hice reportedly failing to comply with orders to turn over evidence, he and Lemon’s attorneys filed a joint motion to dismiss the lawsuit on Monday.

The bartender Hice said in a statement through his attorney: “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.”

CNN hit back hard against the accusations from the start, claiming through a spokesman at the time of filing that Heist’s lawsuit “follows his unsuccessful threats and demands for an exorbitant amount of money from Don Lemon.” They also noted that Hice “has previously displayed contempt for CNN on his social media accounts.”

Hice did not get the payday he may have been hoping for at the end of this, as he now has to pony up $77,000 to cover Lemon’s attorney’s fees. In an unusual pre-trial scenario, two of Hice’s key witnesses contradicted his story while being examined under oath by Lemon’s attorney Caroline Polisi, and were then added to the defense’s list of witnesses after Hice removed them. A judge also said that Hice “did nothing to preserve relevant evidence here and in fact got rid of some of it, whether on purpose or not.”

Polisi decried Hice’s suit as a “malicious and vulgar attack” on her client. “The Court’s ruling fully vindicates Mr. Lemon and brings an end to this abusive lawsuit. 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,” Polisi added.

Hice even went on a small media tour to display his accusations. He was booked on conservative programs on Fox News and The Megyn Kelly Show on YouTube to bash Lemon and his network. Polisi referred to outlets that hosted him by saying “the reporting on this story by many outlets has been a case-study in unethical and uninformed reporting.”

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