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A federal court ruled Thursday that a multitude of lawsuits filed by Nicolas Sandmann against several media outlets can proceed.
U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman of the Eastern District of Kentucky denied motions to dismiss Sandmann’s cases against The New York Times, ABC, CBS, and Rolling Stone magazine, his lawyer, Lin Wood, announced online.
“Motions to Dismiss @N1ckSandmann defamation lawsuits filed in KY federal court against NY Times, Rolling Stone, ABC, & CBS were just DENIED. NBC motion has previously been DENIED,” Wood wrote on Twitter.
He added that he expects a motion to dismiss his client’s case against media behemoth Gannett will also be dismissed in due course.
“The motion to dismiss argues that this publication is not libelous, but the Court has ruled in companion cases that it is libelous. The Court continues to hold that opinion for the reason stated in such preceding cases,” Bertelsman wrote in the Times ruling in language similar to all of the rulings.
Sandmann filed several lawsuits against a number of media outlets following a January 2019 incident involving Native American activist Nathan Phillips. The encounter near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., was allegedly misreported by several outlets claiming that the MAGA-hat-wearing Sandmann provoked and intimidated Phillips as an act of racism — claims that subsequent videos released after the initial reporting debunked.
The Times reported, “Viral Video Shows Boys in ‘Make America Great Again’ Hats Surrounding Native Elder.”
CNN initially reported, “Teens in Make America Great Again hats taunted a Native American elder at the Lincoln Memorial,” but later changed the headline with an explanation from editors.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported, “‘It was getting ugly’: Native American drummer speaks on the MAGA-hat-wearing teens who surrounded him.”
Other outlets reported similarly, incorrectly blaming the encounter on Sandmann, a student at Covington Catholic School in Kentucky who was in D.C. with fellow students for a pro-life event.
Following the misleading reporting, Sandmann hired Wood, an attorney specializing in libel suits who promised to pursue the outlets “aggressively.”
“In the coming weeks, we will be carefully reviewing all of the false accusations and threats made against Nick. We fully expect that a multitude of civil lawsuits will be filed and aggressively pursued,” he said in a statement at the time.
“We recognize that justice for Nick will not be achieved quickly, but we are dedicated to achieving it for this young man regardless of time or expense.”
Sandmann settled with CNN in January of this year for an undisclosed amount after filing a $275 million suit alleging the network “brought down the full force of its corporate power, influence, and wealth on Nicholas by falsely attacking, vilifying, and bullying him despite the fact that he was a minor child.”
Sandmann then settled a $250 million lawsuit with the Washington Post in July.
“On 2/19/19, I filed $250M defamation lawsuit against Washington Post. Today, I turned 18 & WaPo settled my lawsuit. Thanks to @ToddMcMurtry & @LLinWood for their advocacy. Thanks to my family & millions of you who have stood your ground by supporting me. I still have more to do,” he wrote on Twitter.
On 2/19/19, I filed $250M defamation lawsuit against Washington Post. Today, I turned 18 & WaPo settled my lawsuit. Thanks to @ToddMcMurtry & @LLinWood for their advocacy. Thanks to my family & millions of you who have stood your ground by supporting me. I still have more to do.
— Nicholas Sandmann (@N1ckSandmann) July 24, 2020
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