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Judge dismisses Ray McDonald's defamation suit against accuser

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The Ray McDonald situation (subsequently joined by Ahmad Brooks) continues to roll along. McDonald is out of the NFL right now, having been released by the Chicago Bears, but his legal issues continue.

Late last year, McDonald was accused of sexual assault. Earlier this year, McDonald filed a defamation lawsuit against his accuser. She responded with an Anti-SLAPP motion. California has an Anti-SLAPP law that is meant to protect free speech rights. An individual can file a motion to strike a complaint that arises from activity exercising the rights of petition and free speech. The idea is that defamation lawsuits can potentially be used to chill free speech and prevent people from pursuing their rights.

The judge ruled in favor of McDonald's accuser, and McDonald's five causes of action were all stricken. In his lawsuit, McDonald claimed his accuser defamed him, placed him in a false light, and intentionally or negligently interfered with existing or potential economic relationships by making a false statement to third persons. However, the evidence presented to the judge indicates that the only third persons to whom the woman spoke were the officers and detectives of the San Jose Police Department.

Her reporting of suspected criminal activity to law enforcement is concluded to clearly arise from protected activity (the right to petition the government by making statements before an official judicial proceeding). McDonald claimed she knew about the national attention of NFL players abusing women, and she intended for her statements to in turn be made public. The judge ruled that the principal thrust of the claims arose from protected activity. You can read the full opinion HERE.

Allred released a statement stating she and her client will continue with the cross-complaint against McDonald alleging assault and battery, negligence, intentional infliction of emotion distress and false imprisonment. Additionally, Allred said that the Santa Clara DA has not yet made a decision whether or not McDonald will be prosecuted.

There is no mention of Ahmad Brooks in Allred's statement. He was named in the cross-complaint, so I have contacted Allred's office to see where that situation sits. My guess is he is still involved in it, as we have heard nothing indicating he has been dropped from it. That will be something to track as we move through the summer and into training camp. His situation remains unclear. Fooch's update: Ahmad Brooks is still named on the cross-complaint, so the civil investigation (and potentially criminal investigation) continues.