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Mistrial ends ex-Ben-Gal’s $11M lawsuit

Media reports out of Cincinnati say a mistrial has been declared in the former Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleader’s defamation lawsuit against a gossip website.

A jury told a U.S. district judge on Thursday afternoon it could not reach a verdict and was deadlocked. The judge had asked them to return Friday morning to continue their deliberations.

The deadlock was declared Friday afternoon after about eight hours of deliberations, Cincinnati-based CBS affiliate WKRC-TV is reporting.

Eric Deters, attorney for Sarah Jones, the ex-cheerleader who also is a former high school teacher who admitted to having sex with her underage student, told the jury Thursday that they could send a message by finding that the website defamed Jones in anonymously submitted lewd online posts.

The attorneys for defendant and owner Hooman Karamian argued that the posts did not amount to defamation and contained some truth because of the plaintiff’s character.

WKRC-TV also is reporting that the trial judge asked both sides to reach out to one another to reach a settlement, but acknowledged the case could be retried at a later date.

Jones was asking for $11 million in her lawsuit against the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based website and its operator, claiming she was defamed by posts in 2009 that said she had sex with every Bengals player and suggested she had two sexually transmitted diseases.

Jones pleaded guilty to having sex with her 17-year-old former student. According to her lawsuit, the posts were unrelated to her relationship with the teen.

She resigned from her teaching job and from the NFL team’s cheer squad in 2011. She had held both positions for about four years.

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