Gretzky's wife, Tocchet eye lawsuits

Janet Jones, wife of hockey star Wayne Gretzky, and Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Rich Tocchet reportedly plan to launch separate $50-million US defamation lawsuits against the state of New Jersey.

Janet Jones, wife of hockey star Wayne Gretzky, and Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet are reportedly planning to launch separate $50-million US defamation suits against the state of New Jersey.

Jones and Tocchet were each implicated earlier this year by New Jersey authorities in an alleged illegal gambling ring.

Attorneys for Jones and Tocchet filed notice May 8 that they plan to sue the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, the state police and the head of the state police public information office for allegedly defaming them by illegally releasing evidence from confidential wiretaps.

The filings are not lawsuits, but Jones and Tocchet have two years to officially file a suit.

The court documents, filed in Trenton, N.J., were obtained by the Newark Star-Ledger and published in a story Thursday.

Tocchet and New Jersey state trooper James Harney were charged earlier this year with running a gambling ring linked with organized crime that catered to NHL players and celebrities.

The case against Tocchet and Harney continues.

No bettors were ever publicly identified, but two anonymous law enforcement officials told the Associated Press in February that Jones was among those who allegedly placed bets with the ring.

According to the court filings, Jones "sustained significant damage to her reputation and lost business opportunities" due to story.

The documents also claim New Jersey officials violated the state's wiretapping and electronic surveillance control act when they "illegally disclosed the contents of intercepted wire communications and evidence derived from those intercepts" during media interviews.

Tocchet's lawyer, Kevin Marino, wrote that the Coyotes' assistant coach has lost "future employment opportunities as head coach of an NHL team and … future endorsement opportunities."