Kaya Taitano / Social Networks via Reuters
The teenage family Nicholas Sandmann sues The Washington Post, by saying that he was targeting the student of Covington Catholic High School and defamed him for political reasons when he reported on the meeting that took place in January on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial between Sandmann and American activist Nathan Phillips.
Ted and Julie Sandmann sued on behalf of their son, claiming $ 250 million in damages – the same amount paid by Amazon's founder, Jeff Bezos, for sale. To post in 2013. Of this amount, the prosecution seeks compensation of $ 50 million for the alleged harm, while the remaining $ 200 million in punitive damages is intended to punish the news organization.
In their complaint, the Sandmanns claim to have asked a federal court in Kentucky to help them "teach the To post a lesson that he will never forget. "
Responding to the news of the trial, newspaper spokeswoman Kristine Coratti Kelly said in a statement to NPR: "We are currently reviewing a copy of the trial and we plan to put together a vigorous defense."
The January 18 incident was the subject of a viral video and numerous media reports after, according to the complaint, a short video of the meeting was initially seen as showing Sandmann and other Covington students, including many wore red "Make America Great Again". "hats – like blocking Phillips' way and making fun of him when he beats a drum." Longer recordings of the meeting gave a more complete picture of the unfolding of the event, including scenes in which students laughed at him. a third group of demonstrators – and those who seemed to show that Phillips had approached Sandmann, and not the other way around.
In the days that followed, a national debate broke out about who was wrong at the Lincoln Memorial meeting, at least three groups of protesters – the March for Life, the March of Peoples. Aboriginal people and black and Hebrew Israelites – converged. towards the end of the day.
Soon, many media outlets have been accused by critics from all walks of life of misrepresenting the incident or drawing incomplete information. (The public publisher of NPR has published a chronicle on the coverage of the incident by NPR.)
Sandmann's school, Covington Catholic in Kentucky, first condemned the students' actions and apologized, claiming in a joint statement from the diocese of Covington that it would investigate a behavior it considered contrary to the "teachings of the human person."
But last week, the diocese announced that a private detective agency it had hired to investigate the incident had concluded that the Covington students had neither provoked a confrontation with Phillips nor made "offensive statements". or racist ".
The new lawsuit is based on the diocese survey conducted by the Greater Cincinnati Inquiry.
The trial accuses To post to publish seven stories with what he calls a "false and defamatory idea" about the meeting. He also alleges that To post "contributed to the cyber-aggression and cyberbullying that were raging" that were directed against Sandmann after the story drew the country's attention.
The 38-page court file requests a jury trial to review the case, including whether the paper was motivated by the desire to pursue a "partial agenda" against President Trump and to attack the people. who support him.
The complaint was filed in a federal court in Kentucky on Tuesday; Wednesday morning, Trump took the side of Sandmann and against the To post, quoting the complaint and saying in a tweet: "Get them Nick, Fake News!"
"The Washington Post ignored basic journalistic standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily-documented biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump." A student from Covington sues WAPO. Go get them Nick. False news!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019
The complaint notes the To postHis role in popularizing the term "McCarthyism" in the 1950s – and claims that the newspaper "is engaged in a modern form of McCarthyism by competing with CNN and NBC, to claim leadership from a crowd of mainstream and social media bullies "who attacked Sandmann.
Sandmann said he received death threats and insults during the initial reaction caused by the incident. The trial accuses To post to target Sandmann "because he was the white and Catholic student" wearing a MAGA cap when visiting his school in Washington, DC, to participate in the March for Life rally.
The incident occurred in Washington, DC, but the lawsuit was filed in Kentucky, where Sandmann and his family live. Explaining this move, the complaint states that the teenager's home state is one in which his or her reputation is most seriously compromised and that To post also does business there, both online and by subscription.
The Sandmanns legal team is headed by L. Lin Wood, who runs a law firm in Atlanta and whose list of previous clients goes from Richard Jewell, falsely accused of being the Olympic bomber, to John and Patsy Ramsey, parents of the child murder JonBenet Ramsey. The Kentucky law firm, Hemmer DeFrank Wessels, is also part of the lawsuit against the To post.