first_img Published on April 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Alexandra: [email protected] | @LexieHitzler Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img A State Supreme Court justice withheld decision to proceed with the ongoing defamation case filed against Syracuse University and men’s head basketball coach Jim Boeheim.Justice Brian DeJoseph announced the court will need at least two weeks before ruling on the slander suit at the hearing at the Onondaga County Supreme Court held on Friday at 2 p.m.Former ball boys Bobby Davis and Mike Lang are suing Boeheim and the university for defamation after Boeheim accused the stepbrothers of lying and seeking money after they came forward with accusations of sexual abuse against Bernie Fine, former associate basketball coach for the men’s basketball team. Boeheim’s lawyers argue the coach’s statements were merely hyperbolic and sarcastic.Fine, who was fired from the university Nov. 27, has denied all sexual abuse allegations and has not been charged. He was recently hired as a consultant for the Maccabi Bazan Haifa basketball team in Israel.Attorneys from both sides appeared before DeJoseph. He said both lawyers had given him plenty to review, and he hoped to have a decision within the next two weeks.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn Friday’s hearing, lawyers representing Boeheim stated their claim that Boeheim’s case should be dismissed, as he is not guilty of defamation because he made statements of opinion that are protected by the constitution.Lawyers said Boeheim wanted to ‘constitutionally protect himself by offering his opinion’ during a public debate that compared Boeheim to Joe Paterno in the recent Pennsylvania State University case.Attorneys argued that Boeheim had the right to offer his opinion and said reasonable readers would be able to distinguish Boeheim’s statements to the press as his own opinion.‘In his emotional state, he was supporting his long-time assistant,’ said attorney Helen Cantwell, who represents SU.Lawyers representing Davis and Lang said Boeheim made baseless statements to the press that could lead readers to believe their clients were guilty of crimes. Both Davis and Lang were present for the hearing, but Boeheim was not.Davis said after the hearing that he thought it was important to attend the hearing to show support for the lawyers and that he is still confident in the case.‘I am absolutely confident that this is the right thing to do,’ Davis said.Tom Evans, legal counsel for SU, declined to comment after the hearing and said anything that needed to be said had already been stated.High-profile attorney Gloria Allred, representing Davis and Lang, was present for the hearing and said she was confident that DeJoseph would give careful thought to the arguments presented by both sides of the case.‘I am very, very concerned about the way (my clients) have been treated by the university and coach,’ Allred said after the hearing. ‘We’re going to continue to be here to support them.’Allred said she couldn’t predict when a decision will be reached.Said Allred: ‘I don’t have a crystal ball; it could be two weeks, it could be more than that.’[email protected] in Chief Dara McBride contributed reporting to this article.  last_img

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