"He is trying to intimidate me. He sees me as a young reporter that may be scared by big lawsuits. But if he wants to wade into this pond, I'm happy to go in with him," Ali host Brian Stelter on CNN's "Reliable Sources."
Ali pointed out that the lawsuit goes after him personally, rather than naming The Huffington Post. The media outlet has said it will stand with Ali regarding a story that included claims by multiple women who allege Bolling sent them lewd pictures.
"My life history has given me a lot of experience to not be scared by these things," Ali said.
Ali also said he stands by his report, which he said he verified with 14 sources. Bolling has denied the allegations.
Ali called Bolling "wrong" for his decision to take legal action.
"He's wrong because I spent three months on this story. As you said, I have 14 sources. I've spoken to the victims, and that's on a factual basis. I know he's wrong," Ali continued, adding that "the best defense of defamation is the truth."
Ali said Bolling's intent to intimidate him is clear because Bolling filed the lawsuit against him personally, not against his company that has a multibillion-dollar parent.
"It's really important to note, Brian, that he's suing me personally for $50 million. He did not include HuffPost, which is owned by Verizon, in this lawsuit. If he wants $50 million, if you feel that you've been aggrieved and you deserve damages, you go after the multibillion-dollar conglomerate, not an individual reporter," Ali told Stelter.
Ali said he welcomes the opportunity to depose the Fox News host, saying he hopes his case will serve as an example to other journalists should they face similar legal actions.
"I relish the opportunity to see and being deposed and to stand up for not only my First Amendment rights, the First Amendment Rights of many reporters who messaged me after this came out, saying that they would be scared by this kind of action," Ali said.
"And, you know, I'm not trying to turn myself into a representative for the media here, but I feel like I have to really fight this because of other reporters who would be frightened by this kind of action," he added.
Ali has demanded Bolling dismiss his lawsuit over a report, published earlier this month on HuffPost, detailing allegations that the host sent lewd photos of male genitalia to two female coworkers at Fox News and Fox Business.
In a statement included in Ali's article, Bolling's attorney Michael Bowe said the host "recalls no such inappropriate communications, does not believe he sent any such communications, and will vigorously pursue his legal remedies for any false and defamatory accusations that are made.”
Bolling was suspended from Fox a day after the article was published and the network launched an investigation into the matter.
Fox News told CNN that Bolling remains suspended while an outside law firm investigates the allegations.