Partially reversing his own decision earlier this year, a federal judge will now allow pro-life teen Nick Sandmann’s defamation lawsuit to proceed against The Washington Post.
President Donald Trump celebrated the news, adding that the White House was no longer receiving the “disgusting” WaPo.
Trump: “Go Nick!”
“A Federal Judge is allowing the Nick Sandman libel suit to move forward against the thoroughly disgusting Washington Post (which is no longer available at the White House!). He could now have a good chance of winning. Go Nick!” Trump tweeted Wednesday,
A Federal Judge is allowing the Nick Sandman libel suit to move forward against the thoroughly disgusting Washington Post (which is no longer available at the White House!). He could now have a good chance of winning. Go Nick!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2019
Trump’s remark about The Post no longer being available in the White House referenced a prior announcement that the administration would not be renewing subscriptions to both The Post and The New York Times in response to both papers’ bias and “fake news.”
Defamation and libel suit
U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman partially reversed his earlier dismissal of the lawsuit and is allowing it to proceed in a limited fashion to the discovery phase. This would allow Sandmann’s attorneys to obtain certain internal documents and emails from The Post related to Sandmann.
Sandmann’s family cheered the news. “The Sandmann family and our legal team are grateful that Judge Bertelsman has allowed the case to proceed. The Court’s ruling preserves the heart of the Nicholas Sandmann’s claims. We can consider this a huge victory and look forward to initiating discovery against the Washington Post,” attorney Todd V. McMurtry told The Washington Times in an email.
Sandmann’s attorneys argue that The Post — among other media outlets and public figures — made defamatory and libelous claims about Sandmann and his fellow students from Covington Catholic high school following a highly publicized incident in front of the Lincoln Memorial after the March for Life event in January.
Sandmann, who happened to be wearing a red MAGA hat, and his fellow students were waiting for a bus after the rally when they were approached by a group of Native American activists, led by a man named Nathan Phillips.
At one point, Phillips could be seen banging a drum just inches from Sandmann’s face while the student stood still and occasionally smiled — or “smirked,” as the biased media reported it. Video clips of the encounter quickly went viral on social media and were seized on by the national media.
The media initially vilified Sandmann as the aggressor in the situation based solely on his appearance and attributed racist motives to his actions, even after the subsequent release of longer video clips and eyewitness accounts revealed that he was not the instigator. Yet, The Post, and many others, refused to issue any apologies, corrections, or retractions to their initial accounts of what had happened.
Trump supports students
Sandmann is suing The Washington Post for $250 million for defamation and libel. His attorneys have also filed similar suits against CNN and NBC Universal, along with a host of public figures who also smeared him and refused to recant when the true details of the incident were made clear.
While it is quite possible the courts will default to the First Amendment protections of free speech in support of the media’s falsehoods, it is crystal clear that Sandmann and his fellow Covington Catholic students have President Trump’s support.