Washington Post settles $250 million suit with Covington Catholic High student

High School student shown in viral footage after Washington DC protest has sued 8 media outlets for defamation.

Tal Polon ,

Gavel (illustration)
Gavel (illustration)

The Washington Post has settled a $250 million defamation lawsuit with Covington Catholic high school student Nick Sandmann.

The lawsuit is the result of a confrontation after the March for Life rally in Washington DC last year between Covington students and other groups of protesters. Mainstream media outlets had shown footage of Sandmann, who was wearing a Trump campaign “MAGA” hat, face-to-face with Native American man Nathan Phillips, and portrayed Sandmann as an aggressor in the confrontation.

Footage from the incident that came out later, however, showed that Phillips had acted aggressively toward Sandmann and not the other way around.

Sandmann ultimately filed lawsuits against CNN - with whom he reached a settlement in January - The Washington Post, NBC Universal, and later Gannett (which owns USA Today and the Cincinnati Enquirer), ABC, CBS, The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

“All of the future defendants listed above have published or republished statements made by Nathan Phillips and others that Nicholas blocked or otherwise restricted Phillips’ free movement and would not allow Phillips to retreat at the National Mall on January 18, 2019. Nicholas reserves his right to file complaints in this Court or any other court against any other potential defendant not listed above, subject to the applicable statute of limitations,” Sandmann’s lawyers said in February when announcing suits against the 5 latter outlets, according to Fox 19.

On Friday, Sandmann announced the settlement with The Washington Post, writing, “On 2/19/19, I filed $250M defamation lawsuit against Washington Post. Today, I turned 18 & WaPo settled my lawsuit. Thanks to @ToddMcMurtry & @LLinWood for their advocacy. Thanks to my family & millions of you who have stood your ground by supporting me. I still have more to do.”

In a followup Tweet, he turned to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, writing, “We have settled with WAPO and CNN. The fight isn’t over. 2 down. 6 to go. Don’t hold your breath @jack.”