CHICAGO (CN) – Former investigative reporter Amy Jacobson claims CBS defamed her and destroyed her career by broadcasting an edited videotape to make it appear that she was “an adulteress and disreputable reporter,” who was having an affair with a man whose wife had been missing for more than a year.
CBS broadcast the film on July 5, 2007. “By July 10th, 2007, Amy Jacobson’s life was shattered,” the complaint states. “She had lost her job, would eventually lose her home, and experienced enormous public humiliation and disgrace.”
The complaint continues: “CBS, with the sole motive of boosting its sagging ratings, first aired an edited videotape and story portraying Plaintiff as an adulteress and unethical reporter. CBS collaborated with a Northwestern Journalism professor to suggest the Plaintiff Jacobson’s actions were criminal and blatantly unethical.”
Jacobson says that CBS misrepresented the video footage, claiming that its cameraman shot the video, which contained only what neighbors could see “in clear view.”
Actually, Jacobson says, Stebic’s neighbor, defendant Tracy Reardon, shot the footage with a zoom lens over a 6-foot-high privacy fence from an upstairs window nearly 100 feet away, because she hates Stebic and Jacobson.
Jacobson says the phony CBS story became the basis for a “Law & Order” episode in which a reporter had an affair with a murder suspect in order to get his story. In the TV show, she says, “Even the reporter’s swimming suit and towel were the same color as the Plaintiff’s. Adding insult to injury, the reporter also turned out to be the murderer.”
Jacobson, who won four Emmy awards, demands more than $1 million for defamation, tortious interference, and other claims. She is represented in Cook County Court by Kathleen Zellner of Oak Brook.