Covington Catholic student's parents sue Washington Post

Posted at 1:55 AM, Feb 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-21 01:55:22-05

President Donald Trump on Wednesday cheered on Nick Sandmann after the parents of the Kentucky high school student filed a defamation suit against the Washington Post for its coverage of his encounter with a Native American activist at the Lincoln Memorial last month.

The suit, filed Tuesday, seeks $250 million in damages.

Sandmann, who wore a red "Make America Great Again" hat as he stood in front of activist Nathan Phillips as Phillips beat a drum and a crowd of Sandmann's fellow students from Covington Catholic High School cheered him on, got public support from the president soon after the video of the encounter took off and again on Wednesday morning.

In a tweet, Trump knocked the Washington Post as "Fake News" and told Sandmann to "go get them."

The complaint, filed by Ted Sandmann and Julie Sandmann, Nicholas' parents, in U.S. District Court in Covington, alleged the Post "ignored basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump (“the President”) by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the President."

Sandmann has said he received death threats in the aftermath of the news stories and the lawsuit claims the newspaper falsely said the teenager "instigated a confrontation with Phillips and subsequently engaged in racist conduct" and "assaulted Phillips." The lawsuit detailed seven articles published by the Washington Post after the encounter.

In the days after the incident, Sandmann released a lengthy statement defending his actions in the short video that went viral and explaining his side of the story. For the lawsuit, Sandmann's attorneys used an investigation by a third-party investigative firm in Ohio to "formally determine what occurred" and confirm Sandmann's description, the complaint reads, and released a long YouTube video titled "Nick Sandmann: The Truth in 15 Minutes."

In response to the lawsuit, spokesperson for the Post Kristine Coratti Kelly said the paper intends to fight the suit.

"We are reviewing a copy of the lawsuit and we plan to mount a vigorous defense," Kelly said.