Judge rules Covington student can move forward with $275M suit against NBC

by Adam Ford · Nov 23rd, 2019 11:28 am
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Last Updated Nov 23rd, 2019 at 4:50 pm

A federal judge has ruled that Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann can move forward with his $275 million libel lawsuit against NBC Universal.

Sandmann's attorney tweeted the news:

Judge William Bertelsman placed some limitations on the suit but said in his order that "the court finds that the statements that plaintiff ‘blocked' Phillips or did not allow him to retreat, if false, meet the test of being libelous per se under the definition quoted above."

🔦 On January 18, Sandmann and some Covington classmates were in Washington, D.C. to participate in the March for Life. Several were wearing "MAGA" hats. A video of the children went viral at the time, appearing to show them blocking the path of, and mocking, Native American Nathan Phillips, who appeared to defiantly beat a drum and chant at Sandmann in protest.

The students were subsequently smeared as racists and harassed online. Covington Catholic High School canceled classes for several days as a safety precaution.

Longer videos that surfaced shortly thereafter show that Nathan Phillips had actually approached the students and initiated the event, banging his drum loudly and chanting in very close proximity to Sandmann's face. There was also a group black nationalists nearby harassing the youths, yelling slurs such as "f****t" and "cracker" at the them.

Nicholas Sandmann's attorneys filed the lawsuit after he and several classmates were accused of harassing Nathan Phillips, a Native American man, in the network's coverage of viral videos of their encounter on Jan. 18 at the Lincoln Memorial. They slapped The Washington Post and CNN with similar suits.