Dan Nainan, comedian, charged with assaulting journalist Josh Rogin at D.C. charity event

Dan Nainan, comedian, arrested in washington after punching a Newsweek journalist
Comedian Dan Nainan is charged with assault after he allegedly punched Newsweek-Daily Beast reporter Josh Rogin at a Wash., D.C. charity event

(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - Comedian Dan Nainan, who says he was offended by tweets sent by journalist Josh Rogin during a Wash., D.C. charity event, is accused of punching Rogin and was arrested on an assault charge. 

Nainan, 52, said in a phone interview with The Associated Press Thursday that he was upset with tweets sent by Rogin, a correspondent for Newsweek's The Daily Beast, about other performers during a Wednesday night benefit for the Pension Rights Center and the Foundation for the Education and the Rebirth of Haiti.

Nainan was the headliner.

The comedian said after he did his set, he checked tweets with hashtags for DC Improv. Nainan said he was offended by Rogin's tweets that he said "ripped" CNN correspondent Candy Crowley, and political activist Ralph Nader, both of whom performed. 

According to Rogin's Twitter feed, he tweeted, "Ralph Nader opens by saying he isn't funny and proceeds to live up to his word." He also tweeted, "I'm live tweeting the funniest celebrity in DC contest at the Improv. Candy Crowley is bombing."

Rogin also posted tweets critical of Nainan's performance.

"Dan Nainan was funny until he dusted off his 2005 Katrina jokes in a gratingly bad GWB [George W. Bush] impression," he said.

Nainan says he was upset about Rogin's tweets regarding the other performers, but not about himself.

"I felt I had to make a stand," he said.

Another of Rogin's tweets read: "Dan Nainan just punched me in the face. Not a joke," from the event at the DC Improv club.

Nainan denied punching Rogin. He said he confronted Rogin after his performance and that Rogin took a swing at him.

Nainan said he pushed the journalist twice. "I was trying to defend myself," he said, but added that he should not have pushed Rogin.

According a report from D.C. police, both Rogin and a witness said Nainan punched the journalist with a closed fist.  Rogin also told officers that Nainan walked away, came back and punched him again.

The Daily Beast emailed a statement from Rogin: "I did not instigate this incident. It occurred exactly the way that I and several witnesses reported at the time and is documented in the police report, which is a matter of public record."

Nainan has been charged with simple assault, a misdemeanor.

Wednesday's benefit was called the 19th Annual Funniest Celebrity Contest. It featured journalists, politicians and others doing standup comedy.