The ruling comes in a lawsuit from a woman who says Jones had a relationship with her mother in the mid-1990s; Jones’ spokesman declined to comment.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones signs a poster that says “For Better or Worse” before their game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Nov. 20.(Tom Fox / Staff Photographer)
A judge ruled Thursday that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones must take a paternity test to establish whether he is the biological father of a 26-year-old woman who sued him earlier this year.
A lawsuit filed March 3 in Dallas County by Alexandra Davis alleged that she was conceived when Jones and her mother had a relationship in the mid-1990s. According to court documents, Jones and Davis’ mother, Cynthia Davis, reached a settlement in which Jones agreed to financially support them so long as they didn’t publicly identify Jones as Alexandra Davis’ father.
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The lawsuit sought to have a court declare that Alexandra Davis wasn’t bound by that agreement. She later dropped that lawsuit and instead sought testing to show Jones is her father.
A motion by Davis’ attorneys to subject Jones to DNA testing was filed Oct. 10, and lawyers presented their arguments during a hearing Tuesday in the 302nd District Court.
Jones’ spokesman, Jim Wilkinson, declined to comment.
Andrew Bergman, an attorney on Davis’ legal team, told The Dallas Morning News on Friday that Jones’ lawyers have already filed their notice of appeal, but said he believes there’s no reason for the ruling, which is “well-grounded in the law,” to change.
“We feel good, but it’s just a step,” Bergman said. “This has been a lifelong ordeal to her. She just had the courage in the last year to find her way and decide that she doesn’t want to live in the shadows.”
During Tuesday’s hearing, D Magazine reported, lawyers for Jones argued that Davis’ presumed father should be her mother’s first husband because she was born during that marriage. Her attorneys, however, pointed out a court ruling out of Arkansas that said she did not have a presumed father.
Davis’ initial lawsuit said Jones met her mother, who was estranged from her husband, while she was a ticket agent at the Little Rock, Ark., airport and began a relationship with her. Genetic testing during her mother’s divorce showed that Davis was not the biological daughter of her mother’s husband, the lawsuit said.
Jones, who has owned the Cowboys since 1989, has been married to his wife, Gene, since 1963.
In previous hearings and court filings, Jones’ lawyers have argued that Davis’ lawsuit was one of many “monetary extortion attempts” targeting Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. Davis has received about $3.2 million from her mother’s agreement with Jones, including four years of tuition at Southern Methodist University, trips across the globe and about $70,000 for a Range Rover, according to court filings.
A lawyer who helped make payments on behalf of Jones to Davis and her mother alleges she demanded an additional $20 million from Jones several years ago. Davis’ lawyers have repeatedly denied the extortion allegations.
Kris Hayes, another attorney representing Davis, said during Tuesday’s hearing that once Davis turned 18 she had a legal right to seek parentage, according to D Magazine.
In addition to stating no payments from Jones were ever refused, the Cowboys owner’s lawyers also have argued Davis did not “timely disaffirm” the agreement, and instead waited about seven years after she turned 18 to sue Jones.
In May, Jones’ lawyers asked for the case to be dismissed with prejudice, meaning the lawsuit couldn’t be refiled. Their request was denied.
“We’re not asking anything,” Bergman said Friday. “It’s just a legal right to have a parent. I think this has been a very emboldening endeavor for her.
“The irony is I think Jerry Jones would be really proud of her if he really knew her.”
Staff writer David Moore contributed to this report.