News & Politics

Sandmann's Family Hires High-Power Attorney Known for Aggressive Libel and Slander Suits Against Media

Attorney L. Lin Wood talks with reporters as he leaves federal court in Denver on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2005. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

The family of 16-year-old Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann is not messing around. To protect their son’s reputation, they hired a high-profile Georgia attorney whose specialty is “aggressive libel and slander suits against media organizations,” according to WCPO.

This comes after the family contracted Kentucky’s largest public relations firm to help them navigate through the largely hostile media environment.

In a news release Thursday, the Sandmann family’s attorney, Todd McMurtry, said he “conducted an extensive search to find a nationally-recognized attorney skilled in the fields of libel, defamation, and the First Amendment.”

McMurtry settled on L. Lin Wood, who was nicknamed “attorney for the damned” by former CBS anchor Dan Rather. Both lawyers visited the Sandmann family on Thursday, he said on Twitter.

“He is committed to bringing justice to 16-year-old Nick Sandmann and his family,” McMurtry wrote.

Wood “often (seeks) eye-popping damages for those he believes have been libeled or slandered in the press,” according to a 2011 Washington Post article about his defense of Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. (Cain had been facing accusations of sexual harassment that derailed his campaign.)

Other notable clients include the family of JonBenet Ramsey, who were suspects in the child pageant queen’s murder, and Richard Jewell, a Centennial Olympic Park guard misidentified as having bombed his workplace in 1996.

When asked by whether the announcement means the Sandmann family is considering a lawsuit against media outlets, McMurtry replied by email: “The Sandmann family has no further comment this evening other than to say all options are on the table.”

Robert Barnes, a lawyer who has offered his services pro bono to other Covington Catholic High School kids smeared by the media, has warned reporters, celebrities, and others with large media platforms that they have until Friday night to correct the record, or they will be sued.

A nationwide media firestorm erupted after pro-life Covington Catholic High School students were falsely accused of mocking Native American activist Nathan Phillips outside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., last Friday. The media frenzy has spurred hundreds of threats against the school and the school’s students from across the country by phone, email, and social media.

Kenton County Prosecutor Rob Sanders said Wednesday that his office was actively investigating the threats, and had already issued a number of grand jury subpoenas and search warrants for detectives in other agencies.