According to the motion filed by Sapp’s attorney, Kevin Tierney of Cincinnati, a woman complained to football support staff about Sapp shooting video, and three men confronted him. Sapp allegedly kicked or kneed two of the men in the groin and struck one in the head with his camera.
Because one of the men was employed with the Carlisle Local Schools custodial staff and served as president of the high school boosters, the motion is claiming they were “government actors” who were motivated by “media animus.”
The motion claims that it was an effort to suppress Sapp’s First Amendment rights to gather news and take video of the football game, the marching band and cheerleaders for the CBS News report that was featured on “48 Hours” several weeks later.
The motion says that the state’s assault statute violates Sapp’s press freedoms and rights protected by the U.S. and Ohio constitutions and that the evidence against Sapp was contrived. None of the CBS News personnel was interviewed by police in their investigation, it claims.
The motion says that Sapp “was not the initial aggressor” because he did not seek out any contact with the three men and acted in self-defense.
“Witnesses from CBS - who police did not bother to interview, and from whom they did not obtain statements - recall that three men ganged up on Mr. Sapp from the beginning, pushed him, took him to the ground, and collectively struck him. Those witnesses recall Mr. Sapp used force in defense of himself, and not offensively,” the motion said. “The CBS personnel said in the motion that physical contact was initiated by the three men and Sapp pushed back in self-defense.”
Franklin Municipal Court Judge Ronald Ruppert has yet to rule on the motion that was filed Oct. 8. Sapp’s next pre-trial conference is scheduled for noon on Nov. 8.