FRISCO, Texas — A 25-year-old woman filed a lawsuit in Dallas County on March 3 in which she alleges that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is her biological father, and that both she and her mother have been paid at least hundreds of thousands of dollars to conceal that secret, according to court records.
The Dallas Morning News was the first to report on the lawsuit on Wednesday.
Both the Morning News and ESPN obtained copies of the lawsuit after it was filed and before a judge approved on Tuesday a motion asking that its contents be sealed from the public.
WFAA later also obtained a copy of the lawsuit, which alleges that, despite Jones denying his paternity of the plaintiff, he still agreed to pay her mother a lump sum of $375,000 "in exchange for confidentiality."
The lawsuit alleges that Jones additionally had a lawyer set up separate trusts for the two women as "a 'settlement' that would exchange money for silence" -- or "hush money" as it was described in the suit.
The lawsuit further alleges that Jones began courting the woman's mother in 1995 when she was working at an American Airlines ticket counter in Little Rock, Arkansas, and that the plaintiff's mother was estranged from her husband at the time of her relationship with Jones.
During the plaintiff's mother's later divorce proceedings from her ex-husband, the court determined that the plaintiff has no "legal father," at which point the plaintiff's mother approached Jones with the news of his paternity, and reached the settlement on behalf of herself and her daughter, the lawsuit said.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff has asked to be recognized as Jones' daughter and released from the confidentiality agreement that her mother agreed to on her behalf and without her consent as a baby.
"It is hard to imagine what could be less in the best interest of a child than to enforce agreements that leave a child without a father and which prevent or legally punish a child from even stating who her father is," the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also notes that, "forever the deal making entrepreneur that [Jones] is, [he] decided to do what he always does -- 'make a deal' to assure that he would not be publicly or privately identified and/or declared as Plaintiff's father."
As a result, the lawsuit further alleges that the plaintiff "has lived her life fatherless and in secret and in fear that if she should tell anyone who her father was, she and her mother would lose financial support, or worse," while also adding that she "has had to endure the endless public profiles of her father and siblings while forced to remain secret to everyone, including her closest confidants."
Jones and his wife, Gene, have three children -- Stephen, Jerry Jr. and Charlotte Jones Anderson -- each of whom works as an executive vice president within the Dallas Cowboys organization.
Despite the lawsuit alleging that Jones "abandoned and shunned" the plaintiff, it also notes that she "excelled academically and professionally" and now works as an aide to U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson of Amarillo after working for 14 months in the White House during Trump's presidency.
WFAA has reached out to the attorneys representing both the plaintiff and Jones in the lawsuit, as well as representatives within the Dallas Cowboys' public relations office. Jones' attorney declined comment. Jones' personal spokesman declined to comment. Neither the plaintiff's attorney or anyone with the Cowboys PR office has yet responded to our requests.
This is the second straight month in which a scandal has plagued the Dallas Cowboys' 2022 offseason.
In February, it was revealed that the Dallas Cowboys paid out a $2.4 million dollar settlement to four Cowboys cheerleaders who accused the team's former senior vice president of public relations and communications Rich Dalrymple of taking photos of them in the cheerleaders' locker room in 2015.