A $100 million lawsuit that charges Dateline NBC with causing the suicide of a former Texas prosecutor ensnared in one of its To Catch a Predator investigations is moving forward. A federal judge ruled Tuesday that claims made in the suit filed by Patricia Conradt, the sister of Louis Conradt, can proceed to trial.

Conradt, 56, shot himself in November 2006 after he was confronted at his Terrell, Texas, home by police officers accompanying a Dateline crew. Police were attempting to arrest Conradt after he solicited sex from a decoy posing as a 13-year-old boy during a Predator sting operation. While some charges in the lawsuit were dismissed, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said "a reasonable jury could find NBC crossed the line from responsible journalism to irresponsible and reckless intrusion into law enforcement." The judge also ruled that NBC appeared to be "pushing police to engage in tactics that were unnecessary and unwise, solely to generate more dramatic footage for a television show."

In a statement, NBC said it would continue to challenge the lawsuit: "We think the evidence will ultimately show that Dateline acted responsibly and lawfully and we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously. The judge's ruling was based solely on the plaintiff's version of the facts [and] for purposes of this motion only, the judge was required under law to accept [them] as true." - Stephen Battaglio

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