Sunday, September 6, 2009

Plea Deal Is Sought in Defamation Conspiracy

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post
September 4, 2009

A plea agreement is in the works for a District man accused of filing a fraudulent multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit against an Ohio resident he had once molested.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon set a plea agreement hearing for Sept. 22 in the case against David Copeland-Jackson, 36, who briefly won a $3 million defamation judgment against his former victim, according to court records. Copeland-Jackson is charged with conspiring to commit perjury and obstruct justice. Prosecutors and Copeland-Jackson's attorney have said they were working out a plea deal.

Copeland-Jackson was convicted in 2000 of molesting a 14-year-old boy in Ohio and spent time in prison for the offense. After his release, he moved to the District, and in 2007 he filed a federal defamation lawsuit against the victim in the D.C. federal court, claiming that the boy had made "false comments to third parties that [Copeland-Jackson] engaged in certain homosexual activities with" him. U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle granted Copeland-Jackson a $3 million dollar judgment in August of that year.

Prosecutors say that Copeland-Jackson never told Huvelle that he had been convicted of molesting the youth and also deceived her by filing fraudulent court papers, some of which contained the forged signature of his former victim.

Huvelle's judgment stood just one day -- until state prosecutors in Ohio alerted Huvelle that Copeland-Jackson had been convicted of molesting the youth and was on parole for the offense.

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