Lawyers representing a Kentucky high school student involved in a virulent social media clash announced Tuesday that they were suing the Washington Post for $ 250 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
The lawsuit, which was filed in a federal court in Kentucky, accused The Post of practicing "a modern form of McCarthyism" by targeting Nicholas Sandmann and "using his immense financial resources to enter the forum." bully by publishing a series of fake and defamatory critics. " printed and online articles (…) to coat a boy who, in his opinion, was an acceptable victim in their war against the president. "
Washington Post spokesman Kris Coratti said in an email to Fox News that the newspaper "was reviewing a copy of the complaint, and we plan to put in place a vigorous defense."
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Sandmann, a junior at Covington Catholic High School, became a target of indignation after a video showing him face-to-face with a Native American, Nathan Phillips, while wearing a red hat "Make America Great Again" appeared in January. Sandmann was part of a group of Covington students attending the Anti-Abortion Walk for Life in Washington, DC, while Phillips participated in the Indigenous Peoples Walk the same day.
Sandmann and Covington students were initially accused of initiating the confrontation, but other videos and their own statements showed that they were verbally accosted by a group of black street preachers who shouted insults and group of Native Americans. Sandmann and Phillips both said that they were trying to defuse the situation.
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The complaint says the newspaper "ignored the truth" about the incident and said the newspaper "falsely accused Nicholas of …"[ing]"Phillips by" sudden swarm[ing]"him in a" threat[ing]& # 39; and & # 39; physically intimidated[ing]& # 39; way … & # 39; block[ing]"Phillips Path, refusing to let Phillips" retreat, "" mocking the scattered native crowd " [and] chanting "Build this Wall", "Trump2020" or "Return to Africa", and engage in another way in racist and abusive behavior. … "Sandmann's lawyers accuse The Post of having published seven" fake and defamatory "articles on the incident from January 19 to 21 and claim that the newspaper" knew and wanted his false and defamatory accusations be republished by others, including media and others on social media. "
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Earlier this month, Sandmann's lawyers sent letters of protection to more than 50 media organizations, celebrities and politicians, including The Post, the New York Times, CNN, Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. And actors Alyssa Milano and Jim Carrey. – the first step in any possible defamation lawsuit.
Last week, investigators hired by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington concluded that the students were not at the root of the confrontation with Phillips. Bishop Roger Foys, who had initially condemned the behavior of the students, wrote in a letter to the parents that they had been "placed in a situation both strange and even threatening".
Lucia I. Suarez Sang and the Fox News Associated Press contributed to this report.