RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) – A federal jury in Raleigh cleared author Nicholas Sparks in a defamation lawsuit on Wednesday.
The jury was tasked with deciding whether the former head of a private Christian school that Sparks founded in his North Carolina hometown was unjustly fired, then defamed when the author said the educator suffered from mental illness.
Sparks released the following statement after the jury released its decision:
Attorneys summarized their evidence Wednesday before jurors began deliberating whether Saul Hillel Benjamin resigned or was pushed out.
Sparks and the school are based in New Bern, about 120 miles east of Raleigh.
Sparks says Benjamin lied about his experience and job performance and also caused a series of campus conflicts that justified his firing. Sparks says Benjamin accepted $150,000 to resign instead.