Defamation suit vs. Cowboys' Jones tossed again



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For the second time, a federal judge has tossed out defamation claims filed against Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and several associates by a woman who says she is the billionaire’s daughter.

Federal Judge Robert W. Schroeder III on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit filed by Alexandra Davis “with prejudice,” meaning the case cannot be filed again. Schroeder initially tossed the case last October, and Davis’ attorneys refiled it in November.

Davis, a 27-year-old congressional aide, originally sued Jones in March 2022 to seek recognition as his biological daughter, a matter that is still pending. The separate defamation case, filed that same month, named as defendants Jones; his longtime personal lawyer, Donald P. Jack; and Jim Wilkinson, a communications consultant for the Jones family.

In his latest order, Schroeder noted that statements made by the defendants about Davis were essentially true, citing messages that “clearly show that Plaintiff requested money from Jones in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021.

“Based on these facts alone, or viewed in combination with all the communications within their possession, it is not plausible that Defendants acted with actual malice in characterizing Plaintiff’s actions as a ‘shakedown attempt’ that was motivated by money,” the judge wrote in his 17-page order.

Wilkinson said he and Jones would have no immediate comment on the judge’s ruling. Jack could not be reached. Davis’ attorneys, Andrew Bergman and Jay Gray, released a statement saying they were “disappointed in the ruling and intend to appeal.”

Davis’ defamation claim last year accused Jones and his representatives of waging a public campaign that attacked her character “based knowingly on false statements and accusations.” It cited two ESPN stories written by Don Van Natta Jr., alleging that comments in the story had portrayed her as an “extortionist” trying to “shake down” the Jones family.

Schroeder rejected the original claim, finding that some of the alleged defamatory statements were either true or “not defamatory.” He also ruled that Davis qualified as a “limited public figure” and as such had failed to make a valid claim of actual malice, a requirement under defamation law.

However, the judge gave Davis’ lawyers an opportunity to refile their complaint about comments that appeared in one of the two ESPN stories, published March 31, 2022.

Davis’ defamation complaint was the latest development in a rancorous dispute that has played out in courts and in the media over the alleged motivations behind her 2022 decision to ask a court to be recognized as Jones’ daughter.

In her lawsuit seeking to establish paternity, Davis asked to be released from the confidentiality agreement her mother agreed to when she was a baby. A Dallas judge in February upheld a previous ruling that Jones submit to a paternity test.



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