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Defamation suit against Cowboys owner Jerry Jones dismissed

Oct 16, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on the ESPN Monday Night Football Countdown set at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A defamation lawsuit against Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was dismissed by a federal judge in Texas on Tuesday, nearly eight months after it was initially filed.

Alexandra Davis, who said she is Jones’ daughter, filed the lawsuit back in March against the Dallas owner and two of his associates — lawyer Don Jack and communications consultant Jim Wilkinson.

The suit claimed that Jones, Jack and Wilkinson “initiated a deliberate plan” to paint her as “an ‘extortionist’ and a ‘shakedown artist.'” But on Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Schroeder III threw it out, stating in a 36-page order that some of the statements Davis found to be defamatory either weren’t or were in fact true.

Schroeder, presiding in the Eastern District of Texas at Texarkana, also considered Davis a “limited public figure,” meaning that in order for her to win the case, the alleged defamatory statements would have had to of been made with actual malice.

The statements in question were published in two ESPN articles about a lawsuit that Davis had filed in March 2022. In that initial suit, Davis sought recognition as Jones’ daughter, and she also claimed that Jones paid her $375,000 in addition to setting up a pair of trust funds to hide the familial relationship between the two.

In the defamation case that was just dismissed, Davis believed Jones and his associates were attacking her character publicly “based knowingly on false statements and accusations.”

“This case was never about money — it was about a young woman searching for her dad,” Davis’ attorney Andrew Bergman previously said in a written statement. “Their response was to try to destroy her.”

Despite Tuesday’s dismissal of the most recent lawsuit, Schroeder is giving Davis and her lawyers the chance to submit another complaint that proves Jones, Jack and Wilkinson acted with actual malice when making their comments that were published by ESPN.

Bergman has 21 days to submit a revised complaint after only part of the plaintiff’s lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice.

“We are amending our pleading and we are pleased that the case is moving forward,” Bergman said.

Wilkinson told ESPN in 2022 that Bergman told one of Jones’ lawyers that for the case to be settled, it would cost Jones “Zeke or Dak money,” referring to then-Cowboys stars Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott, but Bergman denies any allegations of asking for money in the case.

–Field Level Media

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