Jurors at odds in ex-cheerleader's libel suit

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2013 at 9:38 pm •  Published: January 24, 2013
Advertisement
;

Even if jurors didn't agree with those arguments, Ward told them that they should not find in Jones' favor because she's a convicted felon, an admitted liar and had sex with a student.

He added that the posts were generally true because Jones has shown that she is "sexually immoral."

Jones sat crying during his closing arguments, which included references to lies that Jones admitted to telling to police, her family and her bosses about her relationship with the student. She pleaded guilty in October to having sex with him as part of a plea deal that allowed her to avoid time in jail. The plea deal also forbade Jones from ever being a teacher again.

"This isn't an argument that you should punish her because she lies," Ward told jurors. "It's because you can't believe her."

The closing arguments came after three days of testimony and evidence that included newly released text messages between Jones and the teen that said she first fell in love with him when he walked into her freshman English classroom.

Jones resigned from Dixie Heights High School and from the Bengals cheer squad in late 2011 after four years in both jobs.

The day after she pleaded guilty in the case, Jones and the teen spoke with NBC's Dateline and said they were in love, still in a relationship and didn't care what anyone thought.

David Gingras, another attorney for Richie, said if Jones wins the defamation case, he will appeal to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and argue that his client's website is protected under the Communications Decency Act. The law provides immunity to website publishers from liability for content that comes from third parties.

He said the case is equivalent to someone suing Facebook's chief executive over a comment that someone else posted.

Gingras has won similar lawsuits over the same issue, including a separate one against Richie filed in Missouri in 2011.

In that case, a woman sued Richie over a post on thedirty.com titled "Nasty Church Girl" that said she was ugly and promiscuous. A judge ruled in March that Richie was protected under the Communications Decency Act because the post came from a third party, and the case was dismissed.

___

Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP