Judge Tosses out Libel Suit by Chicago Reporter


A Chicago area judged has thrown out libel lawsuit filed by former WMAQ news reporter Amy Jacobson, who was fired in 2007 after CBS O&O WBBM aired a report of her in a bathing suit at the home of a person of interest in a prominent criminal case.

"We're going to appeal it," Jacobson's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, said Thursday. "We'd always figured there would be an appeal before this went to trial because there are too many issues."

Now a radio talk show host, Jacobson filed the lawsuit, which sought more than $1 million from CBS, in July 2008.

About a year earlier, CBS aired a story showing her at an apparent pool party at the Plainfield home of Craig Stebic. Stebic's wife, Lisa, disappeared in April 2007, and Craig Stebic has been called a person of interest in the case, although authorities have not filed charges against him.

In a nine-page ruling filed Tuesday, Judge Jeffrey Lawrence stated that Jacobson failed to show that CBS fabricated unfavorable content about her. He also stated that critical comments and other material in the CBS piece were "constitutionally protected expressions of opinion," or based on facts.

Zellner said the appeal will be based on her contention that Jacobson was not a public figure at the time CBS aired the story and that Lawrence's explanation contradicts a defamation ruling another judge made earlier in the case.

H/T Chicago Tribune