A Texas federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by a woman who says she is the daughter of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in which she alleged that he and two longtime associates “initiated a deliberate plan” to portray her as “an ‘extortionist’ and a ‘shakedown artist.'”
Judge Robert W. Schroeder III tossed out the defamation lawsuit filed in March by Alexandra Davis, a 26-year-old congressional aide, against Jones, his longtime personal lawyer Don Jack and Jim Wilkinson, a communications consultant for the Jones family.
Davis first filed a separate lawsuit in March 2022, seeking recognition as Jones’ daughter and alleging that he had paid her $375,000 and set up two trusts to conceal that he was her biological father. In her defamation claim filed this past March, Davis alleged that the Cowboys owner and his representatives waged a public campaign attacking her character “based knowingly on false statements and accusations.”
Wilkinson said Jones had no comment. Wilkinson also declined to comment. Jack, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was unavailable for comment.
In his 36-page order dismissing Davis’ lawsuit, Schroeder determined that some of the alleged defamatory statements about Davis, published in two ESPN stories about the case, were either true or were “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.
The judge, who presides in Texarkana, Texas, dismissed part of Davis’ lawsuit with prejudice. But he gave Davis and her lawyers the opportunity to amend their complaint and argue that the defendants had acted with actual malice in comments published in one of the two ESPN articles.
Andrew Bergman, a Dallas lawyer for Davis, said, “We are amending our pleading and we are pleased that the case is moving forward.” Bergman has 21 days to file an amended complaint. He declined to comment on the judge’s decision to dismiss a portion of Davis’ lawsuit with prejudice.
The dismissal is the latest development in a rancorous dispute that has played out in courts and in the media over the alleged motivations behind Davis’ decision to ask a court last year to be recognized as Jones’ daughter. In her March 2022 lawsuit seeking to establish that Jones is her father, Davis asked to be released from the confidentiality agreement her mother agreed to when she was a baby. In December, the court ordered Jones to submit to a paternity test that has been delayed.
Davis and her lawyers have insisted she is not motivated by money. But Wilkinson told ESPN last year that Bergman told Jones lawyer Levi G. McCathern II in a meeting: “If you want this just to go away, it’s going to cost you Zeke [Ezekiel Elliott] or Dak [Prescott] money.” Bergman has insisted he has never asked for a dollar to settle the case.