The lawyer for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones appeared in a Dallas courtroom Friday to argue that a lawsuit accusing Jones of sexual assault -- and the Cowboys of conspiracy to cover it up -- should be dismissed because of the statute of limitations.
Attorney Gregory Shamoun also said the claims made against Jones earlier this month were lies.
Jones never assaulted Jana Weckerly in June 2009, Shamoun said, so there could not have been a conspiracy between Jones, the Cowboys and Jones' longtime attorney -- and co-defendant in this case -- Levi McCathern.
In most circumstances, plaintiffs are limited to five years to file a sexual assault claim and two years to file conspiracy claim. Weckerly filed her lawsuit on September 8 this year.
Her lawyer Thomas Bowers argued, based on a 19th century state law, that the statute of limitations for the sexual assault extended each time Jerry Jones left the state during the intervening five years. Basically to find the actual statute of limitations, if Judge Dale Tillery buys Bowers' argument, someone would have to total up all the time Jones spent out of Texas between June 2009 and June 2014 and add it to the date the statute of limitations would have expired.
Shamoun and McCathern said that the law Bowers cited didn't apply in this case, because Jones could have easily been served by the plaintiff at any time.
"Nobody in the state is easier to find than Jerry Jones," McCathern said.
Judge Tillery was dubious that Jones' profile had anything to do with the case.
"You don't suggest that the law should be different for [Jones]?" he asked McCathern.
Bowers' claims regarding the conspiracy charges were clearer. Because Weckerly allegedly received payments from Jones, by way of McCathern, as late as July 2013, two years have not passed since the last act in the conspiracy.
Weckerly, Bowers said, accepted the money, which she didn't want, under duress and without a lawyer.
"Having just been a victim of sexual assault, she was coerced by forced payments and threats," Bowers said. "We've got a mountain of intimidation and threats."
McCathern, who represented himself, was clear.
"The facts pled here are false," he said. "If the conspiracy is true, there is no bigger actor [in the conspiracy] than Jana Weckerly."
Weckerly is the only party involved who received any money, the only one who benefited, McCathern said.
A final hearing and ruling on the defendants' statute of limitations claims is set for October 16.
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