A lawyer for the Washington Post asked a federal judge Monday to dismiss a defamation lawsuit accusing the newspaper of smearing a Catholic high school student after the March for Life in January.
WLWT News 5 reports federal Judge William Bertelsman heard arguments about the $250 million lawsuit by Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann.
Many mainstream media outlets wrongfully accused Sandmann and other students of harassment and racism in January after a heavily edited video surfaced of them face to face with a Native American man. Longer footage of the incident later disproved many of the claims against Sandmann and his peers.
Attorney Lin Wood said the Washington Post printed a “false narrative” about Sandmann and his peers, according to the report. He asked the judge to allow their lawsuit to move forward.
“They didn’t investigate it,” Wood said. “They got it wrong. They published the false narrative and did not publish the truth.
“Nicholas is going to live his whole life in fear that one day, when he least expects it, the false narrative is going to resurface, and he’s going to be accused all over again,” Wood continued.
Here’s more from the report:
An attorney for the paper, Kevin Baine, defended the reports in question and argued Sandmann’s claims don’t rise to the level of defamation.
Bertelsman said he would issue a ruling in three to four weeks. …
Bertelsman started the hearing by saying the case is important because of the nature of the issues involved. He called it a difficult and complex case and said he’s been struggling with it for weeks now.
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Liberal media personalities quickly slammed Sandmann in January based on a short video of his interaction with Nathan Phillips, a Native American man. Many accused Sandmann and other students from the Catholic high school of racism and harassment.
The students and their families received death threats because of the accusations, and their school was forced to close several days because of security concerns.
But a longer video of the interaction and later an independent investigation disproved the accusations. The report by Greater Cincinnati Investigation, Inc. states that the pro-life teens did not initiate the confrontation or use any racial slurs against Phillips or the Black Hebrew Israelites group.
“We found no evidence of offensive or racist statements by students to Mr. Phillips or members of his group,” the report states. “We found no evidence that the students performed a ‘Build the Wall’ chant.”
Previously, Wood said Phillips also told “lies and false accusations” about Sandmann and other students after the Jan. 18 incident. Phillips did not participate in the independent investigation. According to Townhall, he lied about the students chanting “Build the wall!” and his Vietnam service.
The student’s legal team sent letters to 52 different entities demanding that they retract their statements against the students. A list of the 52 entities can be found here.
“There was a rush by the media to believe what it wanted to believe versus what actually happened,” lawyer Todd McMurty, co-counsel for Sandmann, said previously.
For example, McMurtry told The Cincinnati Enquirer that Sandmann was accused of getting into the face of Phillips, but the full footage of the incident disproved this claim.
Despite the new evidence, left-wing activist Kathy Griffin and others were 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 Americans, 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 incident, 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 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,” he said.