COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - Opening statements and direct examination began in a lawsuit involving former BenGal cheerleader Sarah Jones and a gossip website.
Jones is suing Arizona-based TheDirty.com and owner Hooman Abedi Karamian, who uses the alias 'Nik Richie', over lewd comments made about her online.
Jones is represented by Eric Deters, who will need to prove to the jury that the postings made on the website about her were, in fact, false and as a result, her reputation was harmed.
The posts on the website were made in 2009, before Jones plead guilty in 2012 to having sex with a teenage student while she was a teacher at Dixie Heights High School.
In opening statements on Tuesday, Deters aimed to build up Jones' reputation and show she was a private person before the posts were made. The defense claimed she was not a private person, in the public eye as a BenGal cheerleader, and that her reputation wasn't really harmed by the posts.
During the opening statement for the defense, a number of text messages between Jones and the teen student she admitted to having a sexual relationship with were read to the jury. In one of the messages from November 2011, Jones and the teen discuss a future home, Jones said she wanted pink shutters, a pink swimming pool, a bowling alley with pink bowling balls, and a Mercedes for the teen. Attorneys for the defense said they were making the point that the lawsuit is simply a money grab.
Deters refuted this claim by making it clear that Jones begged the site to take the posts down for months before taking legal action. When asked in direct examination if she originally had planned to sue the site Sarah tearfully responded, "no I just wanted to be left alone."
The jury in the lawsuit is made up of five men and five women.
Jones is seeking $11 million in damages.
If she wins, an attorney for the website owner says other websites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter could be bombarded by lawsuits over material posted by their users.