Media outlets and celebrities that attacked Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann after an incident last month in Washington D.C. may find themselves facing a lawsuit for their actions.
Sandmann was among a group of Covington High School students who became embroiled in a confrontation after the March for Life.
Initial video that was released made it appear the students had triggered the incident, which led to a deluge of criticism unleashed on the students. A longer video of the incident put the event into perspective and showed the students did nothing wrong.
“There was a rush by the media to believe what it wanted to believe versus what actually happened,” said attorney Todd McMurtry, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“We want to change the conversation. We don’t want this to happen again,” McMurtry said. “We want to teach people a lesson.”
He went on to say the lesson that is the media cannot state as fact things that aren’t true.
More than 50 people, media outlets and other organizations were sent letters to preserve documents related to the case.
A team of lawyers will make the final decision on which entities are sued, WKRC reported.
McMurtry said that some of the vituperation thrown at Sandmann “permanently stained (Nick’s) reputation.”
“They know they crossed the line,” McMurtry said. “Do they want 12 people in Kentucky to decide their fate? I don’t think so.”
McMurtry said the damage was worse because of Sandmann’s age.
“For the mob to just go tear apart a 16-year-old boy is inexcusable,” McMurtry said. “He’ll never be able to get away from this.”
The list of those sent letters includes: The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, National Public Radio, TMZ, Diocese of Covington, Diocese of Lexington, Archdiocese of Louisville, Diocese of Baltimore, Maggie Haberman, Andrea Mitchell, Savannah Guthrie, Joy Reid, Chuck Todd, Bill Maher, Warner Media, Elizabeth Warren, Kathy Griffin, Alyssa Milano, Jim Carrey, and Cable News Network, Inc.
A joint statement from McMurtry and attorney Lin Wood explained the reason for the lawsuit.
“A mob comprised of activists, church and school officials, members of the mainstream print and broadcast media, and individuals on social media, including elected public officials and celebrities, rushed to condemn and vilify this young man by burying him in an avalanche of false accusations, false portrayals, and cyberbullying that have threatened his reputation and his physical safety,” the statement said.
“Nick and his family have experienced one of the worst sides of our present society. As their lawyers, we intend to exercise our best efforts as advocates to show Nick and his family another side of our society – that we are a society that survives and flourishes from the fact that it is based on the rule of law. A system of justice that demands that truth prevail and the wrongdoers be held accountable for the harm they have inflicted on Nick and his family,” the statement said.
“Nick and his family sincerely appreciate the fair-minded individuals who respect our system of justice and refused to rush to judgment before the truth was revealed. Our efforts are not about politics, race or religion. Our efforts are only about justice for Nick,” the statement also said.
Those named will “raise legal defenses and challenges that we’ll have to overcome, but that’s the way it goes,” he said.
McMurtry said those responsible for defaming Sandmann will be asked for retractions and apologies.
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