Six months after ESPN broke the story about sex abuse allegations against Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, the network is now facing the possibility that they will have to defend their reporting in court. Today, Fine's wife, Laurie, announced she is suing ESPN and two employees over their coverage. Our Erin Clarke was at the news conference and has the latest.
ONTARIO COUNTY, N.Y. -- The wife of defamed assistant Syracuse University basketball coach Bernie Fine is going on the offensive. Laurie Fine held a news conference today to announce she is filing a lawsuit against ESPN and two of its employees.
The libel suit centers around ESPN's coverage of sexual abuse allegations by former ball boy Bobby Davis against Bernie Fine. In particular, it focuses on a phone conversation between Davis and Laurie Fine recorded in 2002.
Fine claims the tape was doctored before it aired on ESPN last November. However, her lawyer says they have not yet received a copy of the original conversation.
At the news conference, Fine called ESPN's reporting "A malicious attack in order to boost television ratings in the wake of the Penn State Scandal." She said she's spent the last six months in seclusion and wants both an apology and retraction from ESPN.
"I'm here today as a wife and mother, who has had to endure the trauma of being smeared in the public as a monster. My family and close friends have stood by me, they know that I am a kind and loving person, but my life has been destroyed through the defamation that I have suffered, and this will last a lifetime," said Laurie Fine.
In response to the lawsuit, ESPN issued a statement that reads, "The suit is without merit and we stand by our reporting."
Watch the full news conference from Belhurst Castle:
Laurie Fine Suit PDF