The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Breaking News

July 12, 2013

Jury finds website defamed ex-Bengals cheerleader

(Continued)

COVINGTON, Ky. —

"I'm confident we will win any appeal," he said.

Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco who is following the case, said "the judge got it dead wrong."

Cardozo said Jones could sue for false statements but that "she can only sue the person who made the statements."

The nonprofit foundation focuses on civil liberties and privacy issues in the digital age.

"I think Richie would have very solid grounds for an appeal," Cardozo added.

A message left for the judge was not immediately returned.

Gingras said Jones did not suffer financial loss or medical problems as a result of the posts and suggested the jury award a nominal amount of $1, if they found in her favor.

Deters said they were not seeking a specific amount. But he told jurors that awarding a large amount of damages could help fight cyberbullying, sending a message to Richie and others that they should be careful about what they post.

Jones had said she hoped the jury would award damages large enough to force the website to shut down and help prevent other people from being hurt. But she said she was not disappointed in the amount awarded.

The posts were unrelated to the former high school teacher's guilty plea last year to charges she had sex with an underage former student. Jones was allowed to avoid jail time with her plea, but was forbidden from teaching again and resigned from her teaching position in late 2011. Jones, 28, still has a relationship with the now 18-year-old former student, and they have said they plan to marry.

Deters said the lawsuit was only seeking damages up to Feb. 1, 2011, and urged jurors not to consider Jones' actions after that.

Gingras argued the federal case was about Jones' character and that her 2012 felony conviction was relevant. He also told jurors lies she acknowledged telling about her relationship with the former student called her credibility into question.

Jurors in the retrial deliberated about 10½ hours over two days. A January trial in the lawsuit resulted in a hung jury.

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