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Ex-Bengal cheerleader's libel lawsuit trial starts

Ex-Bengal cheerleader's libel lawsuit trial starts

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) A former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader who had sex with her underage student told him she fell in love the first time he walked into the classroom where she was teaching freshman English, according to text messages read in court Tuesday.

New details about Sarah Jones' relationship with the teen came out in a northern Kentucky courtroom during the first day of the trial stemming from her defamation lawsuit against a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based gossip website and its owner.

Jones is asking a jury to award her $11 million for lewd posts made about her on thedirty.com, saying they caused her severe mental and emotional distress and weren't true. The posts in question were unrelated to her relationship with the student and were made before any accusations about it surfaced.

Her attorney, Eric Deters, is arguing that the jury should award her damages for the time between when the posts were made in 2009 and February 2011, when Jones admitted in her criminal trial to beginning a relationship with the former student, who was 17 at the time.

But attorneys for thedirty.com told jurors that text messages between Jones and the student indicate the relationship began earlier.

``I fell in love with you a long time ago,'' Jones texted to the teen in November 2011. ``I knew when I saw you we'd be together, freshman year. It's weird because you were like, 14, and I was like, 22 ... It was love at first sight.''

Alex Ward, one of the attorneys for thedirty.com and its owner, Hooman Karamian, told jurors in opening statements that the text messages prove that Jones is sexually immoral and, therefore, the posts about her are not defamatory.

Jones, who is now 27, took the stand and testified that she didn't fall in love with the teen when he was 14, and only told him that because he can be insecure and she was trying to reassure him. The former teacher pleaded guilty to charges that she had sex with the teen but avoided jail time. The two are still in a relationship.

Jones is suing Karamian, who goes by the name Nik Richie and lives in Orange County, Calif., over two posts in October and December of 2011.

In the first, Jones is pictured smiling for the camera with a former kicker for the Bengals with a caption that says she had sex with every single member of the team.

The second showed her in a bikini from one of the Bengals calendars, claimed that her ex-husband contracted chlamydia and gonorrhea after cheating on her with more than 50 women, and that he likely gave it to her.

Richie said in an interview last week that the comments came from someone who knew Jones and had access to photos she posted on Facebook. He said the only thing he wrote about Jones was in the second post, saying, ``Why are all high school teachers freaks in the sacks?''

Jones began crying during her testimony Tuesday, saying that she repeatedly begged Richie to take the posts down before resorting to a lawsuit. She said he and his fans - known as the Dirty Army - continue to post negative comments about her.

``I just want him to leave me alone,'' she said through tears. ``I don't want to be posted on his website anymore.''

She said the posts made her sick to her stomach and depressed, caused her to lose 10 pounds and made her job as a teacher uncomfortable.

Richie's attorneys told jurors that Jones was a convicted felon and admitted liar who was just trying to get a big check over the posts.

They pointed to more text messages between Jones and the teen. In them, she said she wanted to buy a house with pink shutters, a pink swimming pool and a bowling alley in the basement with pink bowling balls. She tells the teen that she'd buy him a white Mercedes.

``This is a money grab,'' Ward told jurors. ``She's a convicted felon because she's a teacher who had sex with a student. Point-blank, she used her position of authority to seduce a student, and that's the reason she'll never be a teacher again, not some post on thedirty.''

Deters said Jones was seeking a large financial reward to punish Richie and make sure he can't post anything else about her or anyone else.

``We want you to award, in honesty, as much money as you can stomach,'' he said. ``We're going to ask you to do that to put him out of business.''

Richie has been posting racy photos and biting comments for years on his website, mostly picking apart women's looks.

The photos that Richie posts are sometimes submitted by the women themselves seeking Richie's opinion, but more often they are posted by people who want to gossip about someone else. Many of the comments are harsh, but Richie argues that the people posted to the site are usually there for a reason, such as being unfaithful or promiscuous.

Jones resigned as a teacher at Dixie Heights High School in northern Kentucky and from the Bengals cheer squad in late 2011 after four years with both jobs. Deters said at the time that Jones had done nothing wrong and stepped down because a rumor that she had become involved with a student became too much.

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

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10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No Redskins receiver broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2017, and bluntly, the receiver position did not unfold like the front office designed.

Terrelle Pryor proved a free agent flop, and while Josh Doctson flashed talent, the consistency did not follow. Jamison Crowder led Washington with 789 receiving yards while 34-year-old tight end Vernon Davis was the team's second leading receiver. 

The Redskins need more at wideout in 2018, and the front office acted on it. 

The team signed Paul Richardson in free agency, and advanced statistics suggest he could make an impact right away. Richardson has vertical speed in a way the organization hasn't had since DeSean Jackson went to Tampa two seasons ago. 

Doctson could emerge as a true No. 1 WR, and Richardson's speed will help. Sources inside Redskins Park question if Doctson is the type of wideout that can beat cornerbacks off the line. Instead, the team believes Doctson is best when using his athleticism to go up and get balls. That skillset was best illustrated for Doctson in the end zone, where he grabbed six TDs last season. 

Crowder could again lead the Redskins in receiving yards. New QB Alex Smith likes to look to his inside receivers, and with defenses having to account for more speed on the field in Richardson, Crowder should get plenty of open looks. 

Ultimately, the question is if the Redskins will have a 1,000-yard receiver. The answer is an unknown, but the evidence suggests they won't.

No 1,000-yard wideout does not spell doom for Washington. In the last two seasons, eight of 12 NFC playoff teams had a receiver get into four digits. Among the teams that did not get that kind of production from one wide receiver: 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. Remember, that team won the Super Bowl. 

Further down the roster, Washington has contributors but unlikely a breakout star. Maurice Harris has great hands and Robert Davis has shown plenty of athleticism, but significant production would be a surprise. Rookie Trey Quinn could be a player that helps the 'Skins, particularly should Crowder get banged up this year like he did last year, but a 1,000-yard season for a 7th-round rookie seems pretty absurd. 

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Jeff Green hopes recent playoff success can rub off on Wizards

Jeff Green hopes recent playoff success can rub off on Wizards

Jeff Green's basketball résumé got a significant boost this spring and summer as his Cleveland Cavaliers marched all the way to the NBA Finals before they were swept by the Golden State Warriors. It was Green's first time going past the second round of the playoffs and the experience, he says, was invaluable.

Green has come about as close to winning a championship without actually winning one and he certainly hopes to get back in that position. Green believes his new team, the Washington Wizards, have the tools to make a deep playoff run and it's one of the reasons why he signed a free agent deal to join them.

"Being there last year myself with Cleveland, I know it takes a lot. It takes a lot of pieces. I feel like this team has them," he said. "We can get back to that point. When I got the call, I felt like it was the best opportunity for myself to get there."

The Wizards' franchise has not been past the second round of the playoffs since 1979, when they were known as the Bullets. That was before anyone on their roster was born.

But Green pointed to the open Eastern Conference and the talent on the roster as reasons to believe they can accomplish some things that they haven't in decades. They may be capable, but putting it all together is easier said than done.

Green hopes to be one of the glue guys necessary for the Wizards to reach their potential, in part by sharing the lessons he learned.

"Never take it for granted. There are a lot of greats that have never been there," he said. "Getting to the Finals and being part of that was beyond amazing. With the experience and seeing what it took, I can bring that here and get everybody on the same page of knowing what it takes and the sacrifices that you have to do to get to that point."

Green over and over mentioned how it takes a collective effort to go to the conference finals and beyond, but he did show some self-awareness and a sense of humor about his own experience in Cleveland. All teams are different and the one he just left was a unique situation.

"You can’t get there individually. I mean, you can, we did last year. I mean, LeBron [James] carried us all the way there," he joked. "But there’s only one LeBron, but to get there you have to have team unity. You all have to be on the same page and sacrifice to make sure you’re doing what it takes to get the team there. I think that’s the biggest key. It’s not an individual thing… unless you’re LeBron."

If the Wizards are to reach their goals and go to the conference finals or the NBA Finals, they will have to do it differently than the Cavaliers did. They do not have a player on the level of James who can do much of it by himself. But Green said the process of imparting his wisdom has already started.

"I talked to John [Wall]," Green said. "Knowing that he wants to get to the Finals, I was just picking his brain and what he thinks is needed to get there. And me sharing my experience of getting to the Finals and what it takes."

The Wizards have reached a point as an organization where they have urgency to reach new heights. Green believes he can help them get there.

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