A federal judge has reversed his decision and is now allowing Kentucky teenager Nick Sandmann and his family to continue in their $250 million libel lawsuit against the Washington Post.
Sandmann, who made headlines across the country for standing defiantly in the face of a Native American activist at the Lincoln Memorial in January, was scrutinized by the outlet (and several others) as a Trump-loving villain—not a victim—in the situation.
Various reports falsely portrayed Sandmann as having walked up to Nathan Phillips, the Native American advocate, who these outlets alleged was peacefully protesting. Sandmann, who was in Washington D.C. on a field trip with his school, was then accused of laughing, berating, and harassing Phillips. The Washington Post specifically reported that Sandmann and the group of teenagers surrounded and blocked in Phillips.
The Daily Caller reports:
Phillips accused Sandmann of blocking him on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and the teenager denied he did so intentionally.
Bertelsman first said all 33 statements in WaPo’s article that Sandmann’s family sued over were not defamatory. He did not explain his reconsideration after deciding that three of the statements in the lawsuit could go forward.
“Suffice to say that the Court has given this matter careful review and concludes that ‘justice requires’ that discovery be had regarding these statements and their context,” Bertelsman wrote Monday. “The Court will adhere to its previous rulings as they pertain to these statements except Statements 10, 11, and 33, to the extent that these three statements state that plaintiff ‘blocked’ Nathan Phillips and ‘would not allow him to retreat.”
The three statements from WaPo’s coverage involve references to Sandmann allegedly blocking Phillips, the Washington Times reported. The outlet issued a lengthy editor’s note March 1 after the Sandmann family filed a lawsuit.
According to the report, Sandmann’s family filed a legal complaint against the Washington Post for portraying their son in a villainous manner. Their untruthful reporting ought to be held accountable, the family stated in the complaint, as the Washington 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.”
Here’s more, from the Daily Caller:
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
Lawsuits were also filed against CNN and NBC over their coverage of the story. Both outlets have filed motions to dismiss the lawsuits.
“We look forward to engaging in full discovery to develop the factual record in this case, which we believe will ultimately lead to The Post being held accountable for its accusatory coverage of Nicholas Sandmann,” L. Lin Wood, the Sandmann’s attorney, said according to WaPo.