PKONWEB Report (New York) — The Kentucky high school student at the center of a standoff with a Native American man that went viral, sparking a national debate about race and class, filed a defamation suit against CNN Tuesday seeking $275 million in damages.
Attorneys for Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann accused the network of portraying the 16-year-old as the face of a racist mob of students, many of whom were wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats after an anti-abortion rally on the mall that day.
Early footage of the confrontation showed the high school students seemingly provoking the Native American protesters, but later, more complete footage muddied that narrative.
Citing four televised broadcasts and nine online articles as evidence of defamation, the suit said “CNN’s agenda-driven fiction about Nicholas and the January 18 incident was not only false and defamatory, it created an extremely dangerous situation by knowingly triggering the outrage of its audience and unleashing that outrage.”
“In short, the false and defamatory gist of CNN’s collective reporting conveyed to its viewers and readers that Nicholas was the face of an unruly hate mob of hundreds of white racist high school students who physically assaulted, harassed, and taunted two different minority groups engaged in peaceful demonstrations, preaching, song, and prayer,” the suit states. “The CNN accusations are totally and unequivocally false and CNN would have known them to be untrue had it undertaken any reasonable efforts to verify their accuracy before publication of its false and defamatory accusations.”
Last month, Sandmann filed suit against the Washington Post for its coverage of the altercation on the National Mall, seeking damages of $250 million in order, the suit stated, to “teach the Post a lesson it will never forget.”
CNN became the third media platform sued by Sandmann’s representatives. And the Covington Catholic student’s lawyer told Fox News’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum” Tuesday night they plan to file more lawsuits.
“We plan to file a suit every few weeks or month,” Todd McMurtry told MacCallum Tuesday night. “At least 10 top targets in the media and individuals … Certainly we’re looking very closely at NBC, we’re looking very closely at AP, we’re looking very closely at HBO for the conduct of Bill Maher, and we’re looking at some of the people like Kathy Griffin who sent out these horrible tweets that are called doxing.”
In February, Nick’s legal team filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking $250 million in damages against The Washington Post.
The viral video Sandmann appeared in sparked widespread media coverage and commentary that continued after evidence emerged that suggested the footage may have been misinterpreted.