- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Good news for Sen. Elizabeth Warren: She’s no longer being sued by the Covington Catholic boys.

A federal judge in Kentucky dropped the Massachusetts Democrat and Rep. Deb Haaland, New Mexico Democrat, from a defamation lawsuit Tuesday against a dozen public figures, citing federal law granting the lawmakers immunity when acting in their official capacities.

The “statements by defendants Warren and Haaland – whether one agrees with them or finds them objectionable – are communications intended to convey the politicians’ views on matters of public interest to their constituents,” said U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman, as reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Eight unnamed students filed the lawsuit in August over the Jan. 18 incident at the Lincoln Memorial, where the teens were accused of harassing an elderly Native American man based on video clips. Lengthier video showed the man approached the boys and waded into their cheer circle.

The day after the viral encounter, Ms. Warren tweeted that Mr. Phillips “endured hateful taunts with dignity and strength, then urged us all to do better.”

Other public figures named in the lawsuit filed in Kenton County Circuit Court include comedian Kathy Griffin, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, CNN contributor Ana Navarro, and activist/columnist Shaun King.

Mr. Phillips told reporters later that he was blocked by one of the boys, Nicholas Sandmann, and that the teens chanted “build that wall,” although video of the incident posted so far does not show that.

The parents of Nicholas Sandmann have sued CNN, NBCUniversal and the Washington Post over their coverage of the incident in separate lawsuits. The media outlets have defended their reporting.

Ms. Haaland, one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress in 2018, accused the teens on multiple occasions of harassing the man, Omaha Nation elder Nathan Phillips, and pointed to the red “Make America Great Again” ball caps that some of them wore.

“A Native American Vietnam War veteran was seen being harassed and mocked by a group of MAGA hat-wearing teens,” she said in one tweet.

In a Jan. 19 interview with the Hill, she said, “I feel like some of that has truly been lost and that’s all condoned by our president,” referring to a decline in mutual respect, adding, “You could tell that by the hats they were wearing.”

Mr. Phillips served in the Marines during the Vietnam War era but was not deployed there.

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