The defamation case against Syracuse University head basketball coach Jim Boeheim will be heard in Syracuse, ruled a judge on Wednesday.
Attorneys made their arguments in front of Onondaga County Justice Brian DeJoseph on Tuesday morning.
Judge DeJoseph denied Bobby Davis and Mike Lang's cross-motion to retain venue in New York County. Upon receipt of those orders, the clerk of New York County was ordered to transfer all documents pertaining to the case to Onondaga County.
Lawyers for Syracuse University and Boeheim requested a change of venue to move the case to Onondaga County where Boeheim, Davis, and Lang all live.
Lawyers for Davis and Lang argued against the change of venue, saying that they would not get a fair trial in Syracuse where Boeheim is a local celebrity. They originally filed the defamation lawsuit in New York City.
Judge DeJoseph states in his decision that, while attorneys for Davis and Lang think they will not get a fair trial in Syracuse because of Boeheimâ??s prominence in a community, â??a â??mere belief, suspicion, or feelingâ?? is insufficient.â??
(Read the change of venue decision court document.)
The case, Judge DeJoseph added, â??will not be transferred simply because a party is prominent in the community or because the action is subject to extensive media coverage.â??
â??Just because a party to an action is of some prominence or holds an official position in the county does not justify an inference that an impartial trial can not be held in that county,â?? Judge DeJosephâ??s decision said.
Judge DeJoseph found that Davis and Lang were unable to demonstrate that potential jurors in the Syracuse area have a bias based on an economic stake in the outcome of the case.
Attorneyâ??s for Davis and Lang had presented items of media coverage to demonstrate that Boeheim and Syracuse University are viewed with a favorable bias in the Syracuse area. Judge DeJoseph found that the media coverage was, â??not wholly one-sided.â??
â??The Court does not view the media coverage in Central New York as completely â??negative,â??â?? and would not impact the fairness of a trial, concluded Judge DeJoseph in his decision.
Gloria Allred, an attorney for Davis and Lang, made the following statement: â??We have reviewed Judge DeJoseph's decision. He clearly has considered the arguments made. We respect his decision and we will move forward with our case.â??
Davis and Lang, two former Syracuse ball boys, say Boeheim defamed them when he accused them of lying when they said they were sexually abused by former SU assistant coach Bernie Fine in November.
Charges have not been filed againt Fine, but a federal investigation is ongoing.