Federal Judge Throws Out $250 Million Lawsuit Against The Washington Post

Covington Catholic (Ky.) High School student Nick Sandmann, seen here standing before Native American activist Nathan Phillips at the Lincoln Memorial, says he has received death threats after video of their encounter went viral

Published July 28, 2019

WASHINGTON — On Friday, a federal judge dismissed a $250 million lawsuit against The Washington Post over its coverage of the drumming scene at the Lincoln Memorial  where Nicholas Sandmann, a teen from Covington Catholic High School, who stood with a smirk on his face in front of Omaha elder Nathan Phillips, on January 18, 2019 near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Sandmann, the student who filed the lawsuit, argued in his lawsuit that The Post had defamed him in seven articles and three tweets by portraying him as hostile or aggressive towards the activist, Nathan Phillips.

The lawsuit alleged The Washington Post “targeted and bullied” the teen in order to embarrass Donald Trump. Sandmann was among several teens wearing Trump’s mantra cap that says “Make America Great Again.”

“The Post ignored basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the President,” read part of the lawsuit.

As the story unfolded through a week of national attention, there were differing opinions between Phillips and Sandmann as to what took place during the drumming incident.

Federal Judge William Bertelsman, wrote in his opinion rendered on Friday that even if Phillips’ account to The Post was inaccurate, the characterizations were clearly opinions, which are protected speech under the First Amendment.\

The Washington Post quoted Phillips as saying he “felt threatened” by the “smirking” teenagers and accused them of “taunting” his fellow American Indian activists.  Bertelsman wrote in his opinion that what constitutes feeling threatened, or smirked at, or taunted was subjective, and that the characterizations were not facts that could be proven incorrect.

RELATED: The Washington Post is Being Sued for Its Coverage of Omaha Elder & Covington Teen Incident

 

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