Redskins

Mistrial in ex-cheerleader's libel lawsuit

Mistrial in ex-cheerleader's libel lawsuit

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) Jurors couldn't decide whether two lewd posts about a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader were substantially true or not, leading a federal judge to declare a mistrial Friday in her $11 million defamation lawsuit against a gossip website.

Former cheerleader and high school teacher Sarah Jones, 27, is suing Scottsdale, Ariz.-based thedirty.com and its operator over two anonymously submitted posts that said she had slept with every Bengals player and likely had two sexually transmitted diseases. The posts were unrelated to Jones' relationship with her former 17-year-old student. Jones pleaded guilty in that case in October in a deal that allowed her to avoid jail time but forbade her from ever teaching again. She and the teen are still dating.

U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman declared the mistrial after jurors failed to reach a verdict over two days of deliberations following the three-day trial in northern Kentucky.

A new trial date, which would mean a whole new jury, could be set during a hearing scheduled for March 1.

Jurors were tasked with deciding whether Jones proved the posts about her having sex with all the Bengals players and likely having STDs were substantially false. But the closest they came to answering that question was an 8-2 vote in Jones' favor; the verdict had to be unanimous.

Jurors did unanimously agree that thedirty.com's operator, Nik Richie, did not act with malice when he posted the submissions. That means jurors would not have awarded Jones any money had they all been able to agree that the posts were substantially false.

Attorneys for both Jones and Richie said the jury's indecision taught them how they can strengthen their cases.

Jones' attorney, Eric Deters, said he feels confident he can get the next jury to find that Richie acted with malice when he refused to take down the posts for 10 months after repeated emails from Jones that they were false and harming her reputation.

``I'm going to win this son of a gun,'' Deters said of the next trial.

Alex Ward, one of Richie's three attorneys, said that ``hindsight is 20/20'' but that he now knows what points to focus upon more strongly in order to get a win for his client.

During the three-day trial, Deters argued that the posts defamed Jones and called her reputation into question long before her relationship with the student, and that's why she's entitled to damages. He also urged jurors to give her a big financial reward to effectively shut down thedirty.com.

Richie testified that Jones is a public figure and that the posts were written by an anonymous user, not him.

Ward argued that the first post about Jones having sex with all the Bengals players was a clear exaggeration that no reasonable person would believe, and therefore, didn't amount to defamation. He said the second post - which said that Jones' ex-husband cheated on her with 50 women, had gonorrhea and chlamydia, and likely gave it to Jones - was merely an opinion that also did not amount to defamation.

Ward also told jurors that the posts were generally true because Jones has shown that she is ``sexually immoral.''

Evidence at trial 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 when he was 14.

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.

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

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Derrius Guice understands why Redskins fans are frustrated, but he's looking ahead

Derrius Guice understands why Redskins fans are frustrated, but he's looking ahead

Derrius Guice is a very positive person. Unfortunately, he's playing for a team right now that's shrouded in negativity.

The Redskins have played 10 games this season, and they've walked off the field as losers in nine of those contests. They've gotten rid of their head coach, and many are wondering how many other major changes will come.

And when it comes to the fans, many — if not most — are furious with the direction of the franchise. Guice is noticing that, too.

"It just sucks when I score, or someone else scores, and our team posts a picture to Instagram or Twitter and everything under it is just, 'Fire this, fire that, we suck," Guice told JP Finlay in a 1-on-1 interview on the Redskins Talk podcast. "That doesn't help anything."

The running back understands that frustration. However, he wants those who are angry to know one thing: While this current roster is obviously responsible for the 2019 issues, they aren't responsible for the two-decade-long slump that's affected the organization.

"I'm new here," Guice said. "I understand some of these fans have been here 20-30 years, but like, there's a lot of guys on this team that are new. Y'all can't bring all that negativity to us like we've been here 20 years. I don't think that's fair to us players."

That's what makes this situation so difficult for those on the field and those who watch those on the field. Fans have been on this unsatisfying ride for far too long, yet most of the players hopped on a stop or two ago. 

So people who post those hateful comments or send those angry DMs are doing so because they've seen a handful of free agency and draft classes bust, and because they've seen numerous coaches come in and fail, and they've been lied to repeatedly about how "close" the Redskins are. They aren't necessarily trying to take it out on Guice or Dwayne Haskins or Landon Collins, it just appears that way.

Guice, for one, is trying his best to improve how he handles that side of being an athlete. He's also choosing to focus on those who've stayed on his side through what's been a trying first couple of seasons in the league.

For all the negativity he encounters, he's grateful for those who remain positive like him.

"A guy that's been there two years and has only played two real games, there's a lot of fans that have still never left my side since I got drafted," Guice said. "That's something I always have to cherish."

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Report: Phillies sign another National, bring on assistant hitting coach Joe Dillion

Report: Phillies sign another National, bring on assistant hitting coach Joe Dillion

When you win a championship the way the Nationals did, other teams are going to try and capture that magic in any way they can. 

Of course, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg are at risk of leaving town and free agency, but now the Davey Martinez will have to make changes to his coaching staff as well. 

According to Jim Salisbury, the Phillies hired Washington's assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon as their new hitting coach under manager Joe Girardi. 

Working with hitting coach Kevin Long, Dillon helped the Nationals lead the national league in on-base percentage while ranking second in batting average and OPS. 

The Phillies struggled at the plate in 2019, ranking 22nd in batting average, 19th in on-base percentage and 17th in OPS. Despite acquiring Bryce Harper, Jean Segura and JT Realmuto last offseason, Philadelphia boasted an anemic offense under former hitting coach John Mallee. 

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