The ex-shock jock faces charges of libel, slander and defamation for his on-air remarks

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated August 15, 2007 10:00 AM
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Don Imus is being sued for libel, slander and defamation by a member of the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team for the derogatory remarks that ended up costing the shock jock his job in April, ABC News reports.

The suit, filed by the team’s star center, Kia Vaughn, 20, seeks unspecified financial damages. Named as defendants are Imus, along with MSNBC, NBC Universal, CBS Radio, CBS Corp., Viacom Inc., Westwood One Radio and Imus producer Bernard McGuirk.

It is the first such lawsuit in the case, though others may follow.

“This is a lawsuit in order to restore the good name and reputation of my client, Kia Vaughn,” her lawyer, Richard Ancowitz, told ABC.

“Don Imus referred to my client as an unchaste woman,” said Ancowitz. “That was and is a lie.”

Imus, 66, called the female basketball players “nappy-headed hos,” a remark for which he later apologized. Nevertheless, amid much controversy and debate on-air and in newsprint, he was fired.

Attorneys for Imus declined to comment on Vaughn’s case, while NBC and MSNBC refused to comment on a law action neither party had yet seen. CBS News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Word of Vaughn’s lawsuit comes a day after it was announced that Imus had settled his outstanding multimillion-dollar contract with CBS, which may ultimately pave the way for his return to the airwaves.

Ancowitz, saying the timing of the new lawsuit had nothing to do with the previous day’s settlement, told ABC that a portion from any possible monetary damages awarded in his client’s lawsuit would be used to establish a scholarship program to probe the effects on society of bigoted and misogynistic comments.