February 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In what they say is “just the first of many,” lawyers for Covington Catholic High School junior Nick Sandmann filed a $250 million lawsuit against the Washington Post today.
“The Post rushed to lead the mainstream media to assassinate Nicholas’ character and bully him,” high-profile attorneys Lin Wood and Todd McMurtry wrote in a summary of their lawsuit. The newspaper “[fanned] the flames of the social media mob into a mainstream media frenzy of false attacks and threats against Nicholas.”
Sandmann and his fellow Covington classmates became the target of false accusations of racism after a selectively edited video of them waiting for their bus after the 2019 March for Life was shared on social media. The video purported to show the boys harassing an elderly Native American veteran. But additional extended video and firsthand accounts soon revealed the man, Nathan Phillips, was the one who waded into the group waiting for its bus and decided to beat a drum inches from Sandmann’s face, and other adults who accompanied Phillips shouted racial taunts at the kids. The kids had been performing school cheers in an attempt to drown out the harassment, and did not respond to adults’ insults and abuse in kind.
No video showed the teens chanting “build the wall,” as was widely reported.
In addition to the video evidence that vindicated Sandmann and his peers, it then came to light that Phillips did not actually serve in Vietnam as he and multiple media outlets reported he did, has a violent criminal record, and attempted to lead protestors in disrupting Mass at the Basilica of National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – where many pro-life events take place around the March for Life – just one day after he confronted Sandmann.
Sandmann’s lawyers call Phillips a “phony war hero” in their detailed timeline of events that led up to the activist’s accosting of the underage boys.
The lawsuit says the Washington Post engaged in “unlawful and bullying conduct at Nicholas.” The 115-pound 16-year-old, who was on his first-ever out-of-state field trip without his family, “suffered substantial reputational and emotional harm” as a result of the Post’s false reporting, his lawyers say. “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.”
“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 lawyers maintain. “This lawsuit is brought against the Post to seek legal redress for its negligent, reckless, and malicious attacks on Nicholas which caused permanent damage to his life and reputation…The Post bullied an innocent child with an absolute disregard for the pain and destruction its attacks would cause to his life.”
The incident caused Sandmann and other Covington students to be subject to death threats. Their school was forced to close for a day for safety reasons; when it reopened, it required a heavy police presence.
Wood and McMurtry laid out their evidence that the Post, in a series of seven articles, published defamatory and false information about Sandmann, concluding, “As the natural and foreseeable consequence of its actions, the Post knew and intended that its False and Defamatory Accusations would be republished by others, including media outlets and others on social media.”
The attorneys say the newspaper published its pieces smearing Sandmann “negligently and with actual malice.”
“All members of the mainstream & social media mob of bullies who recklessly & viciously attacked Nick would be well-served to read” Sandmann’s legal complaint against the Post “carefully,” Wood tweeted today.
Here is the Complaint filed today against The Washington Post on behalf of Nick Sandmann. All members of the mainstream & social media mob of bullies who recklessly & viciously attacked Nick would be well-served to read it carefully. https://t.co/P3H4x0srlX
— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) February 19, 2019