Sports legend Vincent “Bo” Jackson on February 2 won a $21 million lawsuit against his niece and nephew after he accused the pair of blackmailing him and trying to extort money from him. According to The Associated Press, the 61-year-old former professional baseball and football player was also granted a permanent protective order against the defendants.
The pair, identified as siblings Thomas Lee Anderson and Erica M. Anderson Ross, have since been ordered to cease pestering Jackson or getting in touch with him or his close relatives. The siblings have also been ordered to keep a 500-yard distance from the Jackson family and delete social media posts about them.
Jackson, who is the only professional athlete in history to be named an all-star in two major sports in North America, accused the Andersons of using harassment and intimidation in their attempt to extort $20 million from him.
“Unfortunately for those attempting to extort $20 million from Jackson and his family, Bo still hits back hard,” Jackson’s attorneys said on Monday.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit claimed his niece and nephew began harassing him in 2022, adding that they shared threatening posts and messages on social media and also tainted his image. Jackson further alleged that the defendants publicly shared private information to subject him to serious emotional suffering, per WSB-TV. The Heisman Trophy winner claimed Thomas Anderson made a Facebook post where he said he was going to share the plaintiff’s photos, text, and medical records to “show America” he was serious.
Jackson in the lawsuit claimed that the siblings and an Atlanta attorney told him to pay up if he wanted them to end their actions. He also claimed the Andersons in April threatened to show up at a restaurant close to his home and cause a stir at a charity event he was hosting, The Associated Press reported.
The court determined the actions of the defendants lacked legal merit, adding that the siblings did not stop their harassment and intimidation even after Jackson’s attorneys served them a cease and desist letter.
Cobb County Superior Court Judge Jason D. Marbutt stated that the defendants and their attorneys failed to deny Jackson’s allegations and also take part in the case after a hearing in May 2023, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The judge ultimately ruled in favor of Jackson after finding the defendants to be in default.
“Reasonable people would find defendants’ behavior extreme and outrageous,” Marbutt stated in his ruling. “The court saw evidence that an attorney representing defendants claimed his clients’ conduct would cease for the sum of $20 million.”