Covington teen settles defamation suit with the Washington Post

COVINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Covington, Ky., teenager who, along with some of his classmates, were at the center of an international tempest in January 2019 for an incident in Washington D.C., has settled a defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post for an undisclosed amount.

Former Covington Catholic student Nick Sandman announced the settlement Friday on Twitter. It also is his birthday.

“On 2/19/19, I filed a $250M defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post. Today, I turned 18 & WaPo settled my lawsuit…Thanks to my family & millions of you who have stood your ground by supporting me. I still have more to do,” Sandman tweeted.

He settled a similar lawsuit with CNN earlier this year. Sandmann also sued NBC Universal in U.S. District Court in Covington and then, in March, added ABC, CBS, USA Today owner Gannett, The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

In January 2019, the students from Covington Catholic High School were attending an annual March for Life trip being held at the same time as an Indigenous Peoples March.

In another tweet, Sandman said, “The fight isn’t over. 2 down. 6 to go.”

Attorneys Lin Wood and Todd McMurtry, both of whom Sandman praised for their “advocacy” in his tweet, filed the lawsuits on behalf of Sandmann and his family.

“All of the future defendants listed above have published or republished statements made by Nathan Phillips and others that Nicholas blocked or otherwise restricted Phillips’ free movement and would not allow Phillips to retreat at the National Mall on January 18, 2019. Nicholas reserves his right to file complaints in this is Court or any other court against any other potential defendant not listed above, subject to the applicable statute of limitations,” reads a report Sandmann’s lawyers filed with U.S. District Court in Covington back in February when they said they intended to file complaints against the five additional media outlets.

According to media reports, the lawsuit claims 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 Jan. 18 (2019) March for Life in Washington, D.C.”

Pictures and video of Sandmann and Native American protester and elder Nathan Phillips staring at each other became viral events on social media and newspapers and television.

The boys initially were accused of mistreating Phillips. But longer videos that came out later revealed a different version of the incident.

The Catholic Diocese of Covington paid for an independent, third-party investigation  which reported the students didn’t make any racist or offensive comments to Phillips or the other Indigenous Americans.

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