Indian Country Today
The Washington Post has agreed to an undisclosed settlement with former Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann who had been involved in an altercation in Washington, D.C., with Nathan Phillips, Omaha, last year.
The teen's lawyers said on social media Friday that they reached an undisclosed settlement with the paper. The order of dismissal from U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman said the two parties agreed to the dismissal, with each side paying its own costs.
Nicholas Sandmann, an 18-year-old student at Covington Catholic High School, sued the newspaper for $250 million, alleging that it had engaged in “targeting and bullying” and modern “McCarthyism.”
The incident occurred at the base of the Lincoln Memorial after an anti-abortion rally at the Capitol, both at opposite ends of the National Mall, and after the Indigenous Peoples March.
In a video involving Covington Catholic High School students and Nathan Phillips, Sandmann and Phillips stood and stared at each other for portions of the video. Phillips sang and drummed while at times Sandmann was smiling. The video went viral internationally. The public has remained divided on the interactions some on the side of Phillips and others on the side of Sandmann and other Covington students.
In Sandmann’s lawsuit against The Washington Post, his attorneys highlighted seven articles and three Twitter social media posts they considered defamatory to Sandmann.
Bertelsman dismissed the suit in July 2019, writing that there may have been “erroneous” opinions published by the Post, but they are protected by the First Amendment.
But Bertelsman in October allowed further review of statements published by the newspaper of Phillips alleging he was “blocked” by Sandmann and Sandmann “would not allow him to retreat.”
“We are pleased that we have been able to reach a mutually agreeable resolution of the remaining claims in this lawsuit,” Washington Post Vice President of Communications Kristine Coratti Kelly said in a statement to The Kentucky Enquirer.
On Friday, Sandmann tweets that he had just turned 18 and that The Washington Post had settled his $250 million dollar lawsuit. He also thanked his attorneys.
In his tweet, Sandmann wrote: “On 2/19/19, I filed a $250M defamation lawsuit against Washington Post. Today, I turned 18 & WaPo settled my lawsuit. Thanks to
@ToddMcMurtry & @LLinWood for their advocacy. Thanks to my family & millions of you who have stood your ground by supporting me. I still have more to do.”
In total, Sandmann and his legal team have filed a total of $800 million dollars in defamation lawsuits against such news organizations as CNN, ABS, CBS, The Guardian, The Hill, Washington Post, and NBC. CNN settled in January.
- A summary of Indian Country Today's coverage on Nathan Phillips and #MAGAyouth
- The whole story: Before and after video of Nathan Phillips, #MAGAyouth and more
- An interview with Nathan Phillips on the #MAGAYouth incident
- Nathan Phillips responds to investigative report on Covington student’s behavior
- The Nathan Phillips incident: A long day of worldwide news and a school apology
The Associated Press contributed to this report.