Covington Kid Lawyer Files $250 MILLION Lawsuit Against the Washington Post for Their Smears Featured

Written by Cassandra Fairbanks | Source: NewsBusters | February 19, 2019 09:31 PM

Lin Wood, the high-profile attorney representing Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann, has filed a $250 million lawsuit against the Washington Post for defamation.

The lawsuit claims that the paper “vilified” the student that was seen in a viral video being confronted by far-left activist Nathan Phillips because of the fact that he is white.

Filed in the U.S. District Court in Kentucky, the 38-page complaint says that “the Post wrongfully targeted and bullied Nicholas because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ souvenir cap on a school field trip to the January 18 March for Life in Washington, D.C. when he was unexpectedly and suddenly confronted by Nathan Phillips (‘Phillips’), a known Native American activist, who beat a drum and sang loudly within inches of his face (‘the January 18 incident’).”

When asked by Gateway Pundit how this compares to the lawsuit Hulk Hogan filed against Gawker, Wood explained that his client has justification for a bigger claim.

“The Gawker case was an invasion of privacy claim. I believe Nick’s defamation case justifies an award much greater than the $150M awarded to Hulk Hogan. Nick is a minor. The media attacks on him are inexcusable,” Wood told TGP.

The amount of the lawsuit is the same amount that Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, paid in cash for the Post in 2013 — the complaint notes.

“On January 19, 20 and 21, the Post ignored the truth and falsely accused Nicholas of, among other things, ‘accost[ing]’ Phillips by ‘suddenly swarm[ing]’ him in a ‘threaten[ing]’ and ‘physically intimidat[ing]’ manner as Phillips ‘and other activists were wrapping up the march and preparing to leave,’ ‘block[ing]’ Phillips path, refusing to allow Phillips ‘to retreat,’ ‘taunting the dispersing indigenous crowd,’ chanting ‘build that wall,’ ‘Trump2020,’ or ‘go back to Africa,’ and otherwise engaging in racist and improper conduct which ended only ‘when Phillips and other activists walked away.'” the complaint reads.

An internal investigation by the Diocese of Covington found that the students did nothing wrong — and even acted in a “laudatory” manner in the face of vile racist hate being spewed at them by the Black Israelites that Nathan Phillips was acting in “solidarity” with.

Wood has previously announced that there are over 50 celebrities, media outlets, reporters and politicians who may also be served with lawsuits.

Defamation Suit: WaPo Sued for $250 Million By Covington Student

With “this is only the beginning” as their promise, Lin Wood and Todd McMurtry, the lawyers for Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann, filed a lengthy $250 million lawsuit against The Washington Post for defamation on Tuesday regarding their alleged targeted smears of the child.

The document itself was a scathing takedown of the paper they described as abusing “the profession of journalism” while racing to be “the first and loudest media bully.”

The lawsuit started off by recalling the paper’s coining of “McCarthyism” in a 1950 cartoon they published. “In a span of three (3) days in January of this year commencing on January 19, the Post engaged in a modern-day form of McCarthyism by competing with CNN and NBC, among others, to claim leadership of a mainstream and social media mob of bullies which attacked, vilified, and threatened Nicholas Sandmann (“Nicholas”), an innocent secondary school child,” the suit said.

Throughout the document, the lawyers described The Post as bullies who were driven by political motivations to target a child:

The Post wrongfully targeted and bullied Nicholas because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red “Make America Great Again” souvenir cap on a school field trip to the January 18 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

(…)

In targeting and bullying Nicholas by falsely accusing him of instigating the January 18 incident, the Post conveyed that Nicholas engaged in acts of racism by “swarming” Phillips, “blocking” his exit away from the students, and otherwise engaging in racist misconduct

(…)

The Post’s campaign to target Nicholas in furtherance of its political agenda was carried out by using its vast financial resources to enter the bully pulpit by publishing a series of false and defamatory print and online articles which effectively provided a worldwide megaphone to Phillips and other anti-Trump individuals and entities to smear a young boy who was in its view an acceptable casualty in their war against the President.

The Post was further accused of “ignor[ing] basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump (“the President”) by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the President.”

“Unlike the Post’s abuse of the profession of journalism, Plaintiffs do not bring this lawsuit to use the judicial system to further a political agenda,” the lawsuit continued. “The Post wanted to lead the charge against this child because he was a pawn in its political war against its political adversary – a war so disconnected and beyond the comprehension of Nicholas that it might as well have been science fiction.”

In a fairly lengthy section of the lawsuit, Sandmann’s lawyers spelled out how “[t]he Post published its False and Defamatory Accusations negligently and with actual knowledge of falsity or a reckless disregard for the truth”, and “continued to publish its False and Defamatory Accusations with actual knowledge of falsity, having reviewed video evidence and statements of Nicholas Sandmann contradicting its False and Defamatory Accusations.”

The lawsuit also pointed to “no less than six false and defamatory articles of and concerning Nicholas,” published by The Post. “The Post did not conduct a proper investigation before publishing its false and defamatory statements of and concerning Nicholas.”

Sandmann’s lawyers contended their lawsuit had standing because “Nicholas is a private figure for the purposes of this defamation action, having lived his entire life outside of the public eye” and had no interest in being a public figure, suggesting it was forced onto him.

The work put into the document indicated how seriously they’re going to pursue the case. It will be interesting to see which other news outlets find themselves possibly going to court, especially considering this lawsuit suggested The Post was competing with CNN and NBC.

Covington teen Nicholas Sandmann sues The Washington Post for defamation

“The Post ignored basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its … biased agenda against President Donald J.

Trump … by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the President.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JMkzakXgIY

You know the story of the Covington Catholic High School kids who were maligned by the media when Native American activist Nathan Phillips, accompanied by a phalanx of videographers, approached them to create a confrontation.

Nicholas Sandmann did nothing other than stand there as Phillips invaded his personal space and banged a drum inches from Sandmann’s face. The fact that Sandmann was wearing a MAGA had infuriated liberal media and social media. That Sandmann smiled during the encounter was called a “white privileged” smirk, and led to taunts from some famous people that he should be punched in the face.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JMkzakXgIY

When the full video came out, it became clear that Sandmann was the victim in this encounter, not the aggressor. There were some apologies, but for the most part the media that had tarred and feathered Sandmann did nothing to clean up the mess they made.

Sandmann has hired high profile lawyer Linn Wood from Atlanta, and Todd McMurty from Mitchell, KY. Document preservation demands were sent to dozens of media entities and celebrities. Now suit has been filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Kentucky for defamation.

You can read the Complaint and exhibits at the lawyers’ website. The Complaint also is here in pdf.

As seems to be the trend in politics-related lawsuits these days, the “Introduction” reads like a press release, providing convenient soundbites for lazy journalists (ahem) to quote in coverage:

1. The Post is a major American daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C. which is credited with inventing the term “McCarthyism” in an editorial cartoon published in 1950. Depicting buckets of tar, the cartoon made fun of then United States Senator Joseph McCarthy’s “tarring” tactics of engaging in smear campaigns and character assassination against citizens whose political views made them targets of his accusations.

2. In a span of three (3) days in January of this year commencing on January 19, the Post engaged in a modern-day form of McCarthyism by competing with CNN and NBC, among others, to claim leadership of a mainstream and social media mob of bullies which attacked, vilified, and threatened Nicholas Sandmann (“Nicholas”), an innocent secondary school child.

3. The Post wrongfully targeted and bullied Nicholas because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red “Make America Great Again” souvenir cap on a school field trip to the January 18 March for Life in Washington, D.C. when he was unexpectedly and suddenly confronted by Nathan Phillips (“Phillips”), a known Native American activist, who beat a drum and sang loudly within inches of his face (“the January 18 incident”).

* * *

7. In targeting and bullying Nicholas by falsely accusing him of instigating the January 18 incident, the Post conveyed that Nicholas engaged in acts of racism by “swarming” Phillips, “blocking” his exit away from the students, and otherwise engaging in racist misconduct.

8. The Post ignored basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump (“the President”) by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the President.

* * *

13. The Post bullied an innocent child with an absolute disregard for the pain and destruction its attacks would cause to his life.

14. The Post proved itself to be a loud and aggressive bully with a bully pulpit.

15. In this country, our society is dedicated to the protection of children regardless of the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, or the cap they wear.

* * *

19. In order to fully compensate Nicholas for his damages and to punish, deter, and teach the Post a lesson it will never forget, this action seeks money damages in excess of Two Hundred and Fifty Million Dollars ($250,000,000.00) – the amount Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, paid in cash for the Post when his company, Nash Holdings, purchased the newspaper in 2013.

I’m not really in a position to give a meaningful legal analysis at this point, in part because I’m so used to covering and analyzing lawsuits involving public figures (like Sarah Palin), where the burden is so high to show actual malice. Here, the lawsuit makes clear that Sandmann was not a public figure:

163. Nicholas is a private figure for the purposes of this defamation action, having lived his entire life outside of the public eye.

164. Prior to the January 18 incident, Nicholas had no notoriety of any kind in the community at large.

165. Nicholas did not engage the public’s attention to resolve any public issue that could impact the community at large.

166. Nicholas made no public appearances prior to the false accusations against him.

167. Nicholas has not inserted himself into the forefront of any public issue.

168. Nicholas’ limited public statements after the accusations against him were reasonable, proportionate, and in direct response to the false accusations against him and do not render Nicholas a limited purpose public figure.

I’ve read the Complaint, but it is hard to find specific false statements about Sandmann. As the Complaint states many times, Sandmann relies on the alleged ” false and defamatory gist” of WaPo’s coverage (that phrase appears 24 times). Many of the statements attributed to WaPo that contributed this gist are the repetition of statements from Phillips and others as part of the news coverage that create the impression (sometimes explicitly so) that the students (and by implication Sandmann) were the aggressors. I wonder, though, whether those conclusions by WaPo were opinions as a legal matter and thus protected by the First Amendment.

So my gut is telling me there may be some legal problems surviving a motion to dismiss. I’ll be looking for solid legal analysis by others on this. If you find any analysis that’s not just wishful thinking, please post in the comments.

Sandmann may have better claims against Phillips, but good luck collecting.

This article was sourced from LegalInsurrection

This article was sourced from The Gateway Pundit

This article was sourced from NewsBusters

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