The attorneys representing Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann and his family have put over 50 media entities on notice that their false reporting has put them in serious legal jeopardy.
Sandmann family attorney Todd McMurtry and hired gun L. Lin Wood announced that they have sent preservation letters to media outlets, individual journalists, celebrities, and several Catholic dioceses as the first step in potential libel and defamation lawsuits.
Wood, nicknamed “attorney for the damned,” reportedly specializes in “aggressive libel and slander suits against media organizations.” He was hired by the Sandmanns to bring justice to their son, whose name was dragged through mud after a video clip showing a confrontation between Native American activist Nathan Phillips and the Covington Catholic boys went viral.
A nationwide media frenzy erupted and the boys were falsely accused of mocking Phillips, prompting hundreds of threats against the school and the school’s students from across the country by phone, email, and social media.
A viral video clip showed 16-year-old Sandmann smiling as Phillips banged on a drum and chanted in his face, spurring widespread condemnation and death threats against the boy.
Wood released a new fourteen-minute video of the incident over the weekend, highlighting the starring role Phillips took in spreading the fraudulent narrative and the supporting roles the uncritical media took in smearing the innocent kids.
Nick Sandmann: The Truth in 15 Minutes
A mob rushed to judgment to wrongfully condemn, threaten & vilify Nick Sandmann based solely on an out-of-context video clip. It only takes 15 minutes to learn the truth. Here it is. https://t.co/QGglyZwiIa
— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) February 2, 2019
Not everyone who helped perpetuate the initial fake story has retracted their claims or apologized, and McMurtry and Wood are determined to hold them accountable.
The list includes 50-plus names of organizations or individuals: from presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren to actress Alyssa Milano; individual journalists including Maggie Haberman, Ana Cabrera and David Brooks; national media outlets like the The New York Times, CNN, GQ and TMZ; and the dioceses of Covington and Lexington as well as the archdioceses of Louisville and Baltimore.
As Wood’s video shows, one example of the false reporting was the claim that young Sandmann got into the face of Phillips. McMurtry said that the false reports in the aftermath of the incident “permanently stained (Nick’s) reputation.”
The lawyers have “concluded we have a good faith basis to sue” certain organizations, Cincinnati.com reported.
“We want to change the conversation. We don’t want this to happen again,” McMurtry said. “We want to teach people a lesson.” He added that the media shouldn’t be reporting things as fact that aren’t true.
“There was a rush by the media to believe what it wanted to believe versus what actually happened,” McMurtry explained.
“They know they crossed the line,” McMurtry said. “Do they want 12 people in Kentucky to decide their fate? I don’t think so.”
The lawyer noted that folks on the list will “raise legal defenses and challenges that we’ll have to overcome, but that’s the way it goes.”Med
The letters tell the organizations and individuals not to destroy any documents in connection with the case, the attorney said. For example, the documents could be drafts or early versions of articles or emails among staff discussing the story.
McMurtry said he and Wood sent slightly different letters, but there were no substantive differences between them.
McMurtry said his clients will also be demanding retractions and apologies in addition to possible litigation.
“For the mob to just go tear apart a 16-year-old boy is inexcusable,” McMurtry told Cincinnati.com. “He’ll never be able to get away from this.”
The letters were sent to the following media entities on Friday:
- The Washington Post
- The New York Times
- Cable News Network, Inc. (CNN)
- The Guardian
- National Public Radio
- Atlantic Media Inc.
- Capitol Hill Publishing Corp.
- Diocese of Covington
- Diocese of Lexington
- Archdiocese of Louisville
- Diocese of Baltimore
- Ana Cabrera
- Sara Sidner
- Erin Burnett
- S.E. Cupp
- Elliot C. McLaughlin
- Amanda Watts
- Emanuella Grinberg
- Michelle Boorstein
- Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
- Antonio Olivo
- Joe Heim
- Michael E. Miller
- Eli Rosenberg
- Isaac Stanley-Becker
- Kristine Phillips
- Sarah Mervosh
- Emily S. Rueb
- Maggie Haberman
- David Brooks
- Shannon Doyne
- Kurt Eichenwald
- Andrea Mitchell
- Savannah Guthrie
- Joy Reid
- Chuck Todd
- Noah Berlatsky
- Elisha Fieldstadt
- Eun Kyung Kim
- Bill Maher
- Warner Media
- Conde Nast
- The Hill
- The Atlantic
- Ilhan Omar
- Elizabeth Warren
- Kathy Griffin
- Alyssa Milano
- Jim Carrey