Defamation Lawsuit Lives Again For Washington Post

Defamation Lawsuit Lives Again For Washington Post

Defamation Lawsuit Lives Again For Washington Post

It was really only this last January when the news cycle was consumed with printing as much defamation as possible regarding Nicholas Sandmann and the Covington Catholic students for the “incident” at the Lincoln Memorial.

The media would really like this story to die, as it so blantanly illustrated their own bias, their supposed wronged victim was a fraud, and the video from the incident largely exonerated the students. However, Nicholas Sandmann took the brunt of the media coverage in ways that a 16 year old, who was not a public figure at all, should never have been exposed to. As a result, his parents got some good lawyers and started filing lawsuits, starting with the Washington Post, who really helped make this story a national sensation.

The defamation suit was dismissed by Judge William O. Bertlesman back in July, and that didn’t bode well for other pending suits against CNN and NBC.

But now, in the spirit of the Halloween season, the defamation suit has risen from the dead.

After an amended complaint was filed, the same judge has reinstated three defamation claims against the Washington Post.

After reviewing an amended complaint, Judge William Bertelsman ordered Monday that the case could enter the discovery phase and hence a portion of the lawsuit against the newspaper could continue.”

Bertelsman said in the order that he stands by his decision that 30 of the 33 statements Sandmann’s lawyers argued were libelous were not, but that “justice requires” further review of three of the statements.”

“These three statements state that (Sandmann) ‘blocked’ Nathan Phillips and ‘would not allow him to retreat,'” the order reads.”

Bertelsman said the amended complaint also argues that Phillips “deliberately lied” and “had an unsavory reputation.” The new complaint also states the Washington Post should have known about Phillips due to the previous coverage of him.”

The judge’s order that discovery can continue means Sandmann’s legal team can make requests for internal Washington Post documents concerning the events like emails and communications between editors and reporters.”

Uh-oh and hello, discovery! What long-buried messages and super secret emails will be unearthed from their digital graves now? Professor Jacobson from Legal Insurrection provided this analysis on why the reinstatment of these three defamation charges is important:

While on the surface a relatively narrow ruling, reopening only a limited number of factual claims, it is in fact a big win for Sandmann. His attorneys now get to take discovery on the WaPo process that went into the story. That inquiry will not be limited to the three factual statements, because the process by which those statements made it into the WaPo reporting is the same process by which all the dismissed statements were reported. The entire process will be subject to depositions and document discovery. Sandmann’s attorneys likely will find facts to bolster a number of their claims, so expect a Second Amended Complaint with the results of the discovery process.”

At the heart of this defamation case is the sheer unfairness of the media bias at play. The media elites were so desperate to see teen boys in MAGA hats harassing a quiet old Native elder, so that is what they reported. After all, it proved every bias and every negative stereotype that they could cook up in their own heads. When that narrative was undone by actual video of the events, press outlets like the Washington Post quietly tried to just let the story fade away. Too bad that the Sandmann family could afford experienced legal counsel.

What fun little nuggets are going to be uncovered during a discovery process? I don’t know, but they could be deeply embarrassing to the Washington Post. If I were their lawyers, I’d start preparing a settlement offer right away.

Featured image via Pixabay, Pixabay license

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1 Comment
  • Scott says:

    “The media elites were so desperate to see teen boys FROM A CHRISTIAN SCHOOL in MAGA hats harassing a quiet old Native elder”… I added a detail that was another factor in their decision making process..

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