- The Washington Times - Friday, July 24, 2020

Attorneys for Nicholas Sandmann said Friday that they have settled the Covington Catholic student’s defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post.

Mr. Sandmann, who said he turned 18 on Friday, sued the newspaper in 2019 over its coverage of his viral encounter with a Native American activist at the Lincoln Memorial.

Nicholas Sandmann agreed to settle with the Post because the Post was quick to publish the whole truth — through its follow-up coverage and editor’s notes,” said Sandmann attorney Todd V. McMurtry. “The terms of the settlement are confidential.”

The newspaper, which was accused of defaming the Kentucky teen with its coverage of the incident, also confirmed the settlement.

“We are pleased that we have been able to reach a mutually agreeable resolution of the remaining claims in the lawsuit,” said Washington Post spokesperson Kris Coratti in an email.



Mr. Sandmann’s parents sued the newspaper for $250 million over its reporting on the face-off between the teen and Omaha Nation activist Nathan Phillips in January 2019, shortly after the March for Life, which Mr. Sandmann attended, and the Indigenous Peoples March attended by Mr. Phillips the same day.

Mr. Phillips accused the teens of harassing him, and the initial media coverage depicted the Covington students as the aggressors, although lengthier footage showed Mr. Phillips wading into the large group of boys as they waited for buses back to Covington, Kentucky.

Mr. Sandmann, who wore a red Make America Great Again hat during the encounter, denied allegations that he mocked or taunted Mr. Phillips, saying he tried to defuse the situation by “remaining motionless and calm.”

He has defamation lawsuits pending against ABC, NBC, CBS, the New York Times, Gannett and Rolling Stone, said Mr. McMurtry.

In January, the Sandmanns settled a $275 million lawsuit against CNN for an undisclosed amount.

“On 2/19/19, I filed $250M defamation lawsuit against Washington Post,” tweeted Nicholas Sandmann. “Today, I turned 18 & WaPo settled my lawsuit.”

He thanked Mr. McMurtry, who practices law in Kentucky, and attorney L. Lin Wood of Atlanta.

“Thanks to my family & millions of you who have stood your ground by supporting me,” tweeted the teen. “I still have more to do.”

Mr. Wood of Atlanta tweeted that he and Mr. McMurtry had given their client “the gift of justice from … THE WASHINGTON POST.”

 

Syracuse University Newhouse School Professor Roy Gutterman said that for the Post, settling the case may have been less costly than going to court, an illustration of “the dangers that media face when dealing with defamation suits like this.”

“Even though the law and facts seemed to support a vigorous defense, the prospect of litigation and continued appeals, probably made settlement a practical and safer option,” said Mr. Gutterman. “This is the second settlement and there are still cases pending so we will probably be hearing some more stories like this in the future.”

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