Former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones has won a lawsuit against Nik Richie, founder of TheDirty.com.
Richie accused the 28-year-old of having sex with the entire Bengals team while she was a cheerleader, and claimed that she had two sexually transmitted diseases. Richie alleged that Jones’ ex-boyfriend cheated on her “with over 50 girls in 4 years.” He also called her a child molester during the trial — in October 2012, Jones pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a teen boy, her former student, to whom she is now engaged.
Jones filed a defamation lawsuit against Richie for $11 million, but a Covington, Kentucky jury awarded her only $338,000 in damages, even after finding that the two posts were substantially false. The jury found that Richie “acted with malice or reckless disregard in posting the submissions he said were anonymous. ”
While on the stand, Richie testified that he posted a picture of a check made out to Jones for $11 million, and wrote “A Child Molester” in the memo line.
He said he “wanted to get it out there that we were awarding a child molester.”
Richie’s lawyer, David Gingras, told Radar Online that he and his client were expecting the verdict.
“You can’t be that surprised if you knew anything about the judge. Our judge was an elderly, old decrepit gentleman appointed by President Jimmy Carter in the 1907s and he’s been around a long time,” Gingras said.
“He steered the case that this day was inevitable. A jury has to make a decision based on instructions from the judge and if those instructions are not correct the outcome is not correct and that is what happened here. The judge just completely disregarded the law that protects websites. He said that law doesn’t apply here. That’s like saying water isn’t wet. The judge used his power to punish Nik,” Gingras added.
Nik Richie plans to appeal the case to the 6th Circuit US Court of Appeal.
Outside of the courthouse, Sarah Jones was happy with the verdict.
“I’m thankful for the jury that they took all the evidence into account today,” Jones said. “Not everybody has the whole story and the jury was able to hear all the evidence.”