Nick Sandmann was pilloried by the media, entertainment, and leftists everywhere for being polite. In response, his lawyers have filed lawsuits, one against the Washington Post. In July, a court dismissed that case, but the judge has reopened it.
U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman agreed to permit discovery on three of 33 allegedly libelous statements in The Post’s coverage of the Jan. 18 incident pertaining to teenager Nicholas Sandmann. The Post has insisted that its reporting was fair and accurate.
All three flagged statements from the newspaper’s coverage refer to Omaha Nation elder Nathan Phillips being blocked or impeded by Nicholas, a student at Covington Catholic High School, during their viral encounter at the Lincoln Memorial stairs.
Most of what WashPo did (and others) was partisan and despicable. But I’m not sure the Post is responsible on the points being reviewed. The three statements in question were reporting of remarks by Nathan Phillips.
If discovery reveals that The Post knew Phillips was lying and published the remarks anyway, they should have some liability. It did, after all, lead to real threats against Nick and his fellow students. If not, all the blame trickles down to Phillips.
The court has agreed to let that exploration play out and to allow both sides to present their case on its merits. If the judge sees evidence of intent to defame, they may need to get out the checkbook.
Other lawsuits are still pending against CNN and NBC. The original list of potential targets for suits stemming from the incident, including 50 high-profile individuals, but none of them has yet been sued, to the best of my knowledge.