Lawyers for a Kentucky teenager wrongfully accused of harassment and racism sent letters to more than 50 entities this week about potential defamation lawsuits.
The Daily Wire reports a team of attorneys representing Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School and his family said the 50-plus entities “crossed the line” when they reported about the incident before checking all the facts.
The smears against Sandmann and other Covington Catholic students began after a heavily edited video surfaced of them face to face with a Native American man after the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Longer footage of the incident later disproved many of the claims against Sandmann and his peers.
The students and their families received death threats, and their school was forced to close several days because of security concerns.
Sandmann and his family are represented by Todd McMurtry with the law firm of Hemmer Defrank Wessels in Cincinnati and lawyer L. Lin Wood of Atlanta, according to the report.
On Friday, they said they sent letters to a number of news outlets, Democrat politicians and celebrities, some of whom are abortion activists, alleging defamation and/or libel through false reporting.
“We want to change the conversation. We don’t want this to happen again,” McMurtry said, according to Breitbart. “We want to teach people a lesson.”
“There was a rush by the media to believe what it wanted to believe versus what actually happened,” he continued.
SIGN THE PETITION: We Support the Covington Kids, Quit Attacking Pro-Life Teens
For example, McMurtry told The Cincinnati Enquirer that Sandmann was accused of getting into the face of Native American man Nathan Phillips, but the full footage of the incident disproved this claim.
The entities that were sent letters include:
The Washington Post
The New York Times
Cable News Network, Inc. (CNN)
National Public Radio
Atlantic Media Inc.
Capitol Hill Publishing Corp.
Diocese of Covington
Diocese of Lexington
Archdiocese of Louisville
Diocese of Baltimore
Ana Cabrera (CNN)
Sara Sidner (CNN)
Erin Burnett (CNN)
S.E. Cupp (CNN)
Elliot C. McLaughlin (CNN)
Amanda Watts (CNN)
Emanuella Grinberg (CNN)
Michelle Boorstein (Washington Post)
Cleve R. Wootson Jr. (Washington Post)
Antonio Olivo (Washington Post)
Joe Heim (Washington Post)
Michael E. Miller (Washington Post)
Eli Rosenberg (Washington Post)
Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post)
Kristine Phillips (Washington Post)
Sarah Mervosh (New York Times)
Emily S. Rueb (New York Times)
Maggie Haberman (New York Times)
David Brooks (New York Times)
Andrea Mitchell (NBC/MSNBC)
Savannah Guthrie (NBC)
Joy Reid (MSNBC)
Chuck Todd (NBC)
Elisha Fieldstadt (NBC)
Eun Kyung Kim
In January, a heavily edited video of the students went viral, appearing to show them taunt a Native American man after the March for Life in Washington, D.C. One of the students, Sandmann, who was wearing a Make America Great Again hat, was accused of racism for standing face to face with the Native American man and smiling at him.
However, a longer video shows that there was much more to the story. It prompted many to backtrack their initial condemnation of the students. The video indicates that both the students and Native Americans were harassed by a radical religious group called the Black Hebrew Israelites. The longer footage also shows that it was the Native American man who approached the students, not vice versa, as was initially claimed.
Despite the new evidence, left-wing activist Kathy Griffin and others have been adamant in their criticism of the teens and the teens only. There has been little condemnation of the Black Hebrew Israelite adults who shouted profanities and racial slurs at the teens and Native Americas, or of the Native American man who claimed the students got in his face when video evidence indicates that he approached them, according to Reason.
In a statement after the heavily edited video went viral, Sandmann said he was confused by the whole incident and he smiled only to let the other protesters know that he would not be intimidated.
“I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor,” he said. “I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation.
“I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me – to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence,” the student said.