Nicholas Sparks in Raleigh courtroom for lawsuit accusing him of defamation

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Jury selection began Wednesday in lawsuit that accuses novelist Nicholas Sparks of defaming the former headmaster of a private Christian school he founded in North Carolina.

Saul Hillel Benjamin accuses Sparks of telling Epiphany School parents, a job recruiter and others that Benjamin suffered from mental illness.

The jury that is selected in Raleigh will decide whether the private K-12 school in Spark's hometown of New Bern, the author and the foundation Sparks created to support the school should pay damages.

Sparks was in the Raleigh court Wednesday. ABC11 crews saw him shaking hands with his supporters from the school.

Benjamin's lawsuit alleges that the author of "Message in a Bottle" and "The Notebook" defamed him and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Benjamin was in the headmaster's position for less than five months. He said he was forced out of the job.
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