Wrong Move? Federal Judge Tosses Covington Teen’s Defamation Suit Against WaPo


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Earlier this year, a viral video of a Covington Catholic High School teenager wearing a MAGA hat while standing in front of a Native American protestor stirred up controversy – a controversy that mainstream media outlets jumped on to construct a narrative that painted the boy in the video, Nick Sandmann, as disrespectful, agressive, and a product of the far-left’s fantasy of the evil “Trump’s America.”

In particular, The Washington Post was particularly harsh on Sandmann over the encounter, resulting in Sandmann suing the media outlet for millions of dollars over their unfair reporting of what went on.

However, a federal judge has just dismissed the case entirely adn ruled against Sandmann’s lawsuit.

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For reference, here’s The Washington Post’s video report on the encounter between Sandmann and the Omaha elder:

However, others have reported that Sandmann was not intimidating the Native American elder and that mainstream media took the video out-of-context in an attempt to smear Sandmann

Here's a deeper look into the context of the video, from Youtuber Linwood Pc:

The judge's ruling against Sandmann is again stirring up the controversy over his confrontation from earlier this year.

Take a look at how people are reacting to it on Twitter:

Cincinnati.com has more details on the dismissal of the case:

The $250 million lawsuit filed by Nick Sandmann against the Washington Post has been dismissed by a federal judge

U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman, who heard oral arguments earlier this month, issued the ruling on Friday in the case that garnered national attention. Nick became embroiled in a divisive response to an encounter between him, his Covington Catholic High classmates and Native Americans on the National Mall. 

The Washington Post, in a statement, said it was pleased by the dismissal.

"From our first story on this incident to our last, we sought to report fairly and accurately the facts that could be established from available evidence, the perspectives of all of the participants, and the comments of the responsible church and school officials," The Post said through a spokesperson.

The Sandmann family plans to appeal Bertelsman's ruling, according to a statement sent to The Enquirer by Nick's attorneys, Todd McMurtry and L. Lin Wood.

The January encounter led to threats lobbed at Nick, who would later appear on national television to say he felt he'd done nothing wrong. 

The Huffington Post also said:

A federal judge on Friday dismissed a $250 million lawsuit against The Washington Post from the attorneys of Nick Sandmann, the MAGA hat-wearing teen captured in a viral video with Native American activist Nathan Phillips in January.

A student at Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky, Sandmann was part of a group of teens filmed surrounding Phillips while he performed an American Indian Movement song on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial early this year.

In interviews following the incident, Phillips claimed Sandmann and the other students swarmed him as he was trying to prevent potential violence between the teens and a group identified as Hebrew Israelites.

In a story titled “‘It was getting ugly’: Native American drummer speaks on his encounter with MAGA-hat-wearing teens,” Phillips told the Post that Sandmann stood in his way as he looked for an exit route.

“It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,’” Phillips recalled in the story. “I started going that way, and that guy in the hat [Sandmann] stood in my way, and we were at an impasse.”

Sandmann later disputed Phillips’ account and claimed that he, too, had been trying to defuse a potentially volatile situation. In February, the student’s lawyers Lin Wood and Todd McMurtry argued in a lawsuit that the Post “wrongfully targeted and bullied” Sandmann “because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ souvenir cap.”

But in his ruling on Friday, U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman wrote that the lawsuit’s claims are “not supported by the plain language in the article.”

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Was this ruling fair?

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