Judge dismisses $250 million Covington teen lawsuit against Washington Post
17-year-old Nick Sandmann got his $250 million lawsuit against The Washington Post dismissed by a federal judge.
It all started in January of this year when Sandmann was filmed standing in front of activist Nathan Phillips, who was performing a traditional Native American song while standing in front of the teen. Phillips is seen on video walking up to the group of teens and standing there, playing the song loudly. The Covington teen video went viral quickly.
Sandmann was in a group of anti-abortion teenagers who confronted Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Sandmann's young age, and what seemed like an arrogant smile towards the older man, just like the red MAGA hat that Sandmann was wearing, was more than enough for many people to express their hate and dislike.
However, it also went the other way. People called out the older man for not acting like an adult and trying to purposely get a response out of young teens.
Video clips from their confrontation quickly went viral, were viewed by millions, they polarized the American society. Sandmann even received various death threats through social media.
Sandmann and his family decided to protest "unfair" reporting of this event, to prevent "being called every name in the book, including a racist." Later he also added that he "will not stand for this mob-like character assassination."
His parents supported him, saying that 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."
The judge, William O. Bertelsman in order to protect the freedom of speech guaranteed by the US constitution, decided to dismiss Sandmann's lawsuit. "Few principles of law are as well-established as the rule that statements of opinion are not actionable in libel actions," wrote the Judge Bertelsman.
Sandmann's attorneys said that his family will appeal the decision. Similar lawsuits like the one against the Washington Post were also brought by Sandmann against NBC and CNN.