Covington Boy's Lawyers to Hit CNN With $250+ Million Lawsuit This Week
In an interview that aired on Fox News Sunday night, lawyer L. Lin Wood said he is filing a lawsuit against CNN Monday or Tuesday for more than $250 million over the news outlet's alleged “vicious” and “direct attacks” on his client, Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann. On Twitter Saturday, the lawyer suggested that the amount could be around $275 million.
Wood, an Atlanta-based attorney who specializes in aggressive defamation suits against the media, was hired by the Sandmanns to bring justice to Nick, whose name was dragged through the mud after a short video clip showing a confrontation between Native American activist Nathan Phillips and the Covington Catholic boys in Washington, D.C., went viral.
Subsequent video clips showed that the Covington kids were viciously heckled by a group of black separatists and responded by doing school cheers. And contrary to the original narrative, the kids didn't mob and block Phillips -- the activist walked right up to them and stopped in front of the MAGA hat-wearing Sandmann while loudly beating a drum and chanting in his face.
Last month, Wood and Sandmann family attorney Todd McMurtry filed a lawsuit against the Washington Post seeking $250 million in both compensatory and punitive damages for smearing their client.
Wood told “Life, Liberty & Levin" host Mark Levin that “CNN was probably more vicious in its direct attacks on Nicholas than the Washington Post," pointing out that CNN reaches millions of homes. Thus, he said the claim against CNN is likely to be somewhat higher.
“They really went after Nicholas with the idea that he was part of a mob that was attacking the Black Hebrew Israelites, yelling racist slurs at the Black Hebrew Israelites. Totally false," he explained.
Indeed, the Black Hebrew Israelites were the ones spewing vile insults and racial slurs -- at the Covington kids and the Native American group.
“Now you say you've seen the tape; if you took the time to look at the full context of what happened that day, Nicholas Sandmann did absolutely nothing wrong," Wood explained. "He was, as I've said to others, he was the only adult in the room. But you have a situation where CNN couldn't resist the idea that here's a young boy with a Make America Great Again cap on. So they go after him.”
The lawyer continued: “The CNN folks were online on Twitter at 7 a.m retweeting the little one-minute propaganda piece that had been put out… They're out there right away going after this young boy. And they maintain it for at least two days. Why didn't they stop and just take an hour and look through the internet and find the truth and then report it? Maybe do that before you report the lies.”
Wood told Levin that the lawsuit will be issued Monday or Tuesday at the latest.
“I've got some young, smart lawyers that are working as hard as we can. Double checking," he told Levin. "And listen, when we file complaints, we've investigated it because we want to get it right. Maybe CNN can learn from that."
The lawyer explained why the claim against CNN will be higher than their claim against the Washington Post.
“I expect because of the way they went after Nicholas so viciously, that the claim for his reputational damage will be higher than it was against The Washington Post,” Wood said. "The Post was $50 million for the reputational damage … $200 million in punitive damages -- punitive damages are designed to punish and to deter."
"I would think the punitive-damage award against CNN that we’ll seek will be at least the same $200 million as it was against The Washington Post. But the compensatory damage to Nicholas's reputation, that number I expect will be higher," he added.
Last week, the Post published an unapologetic editor’s note admitting that subsequent information either contradicted or failed to confirm their original reportage. Linn and McCurtry responded with a scathing statement vowing to "aggressively continue" their efforts to hold the newspaper accountable.
On February 11, after a weeks-long investigation, the Diocese of Covington cleared the boys of any wrongdoing in the affair.
"Our inquiry, conducted by a third party firm that has no connection with Covington Catholic High School or the Diocese of Covington, has demonstrated that our students did not instigate the incident that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial," Covington Bishop Foys said in a statement. "In truth, taking everything into account, our students were placed in a situation that was at once bizarre and even threatening."
Wood and McMurtry announced earlier this month that they sent preservation letters to over 50 media outlets, individual journalists, celebrities, and several Catholic dioceses as the first step in potential libel and defamation lawsuits.
Wood also recently confirmed that he intends to file suit against Nathan Phillips, whose false accusations got the ball rolling on the agenda-driven smear campaign against Sandmann and the rest of the Covington boys.
He told Levin that the mainstream media's behavior in recent years has been "horribly unhealthy."
"There's nothing valuable to our public discourse for people to just simply go out and tell rumors, lies, make accusations -- with no sources!" Wood lamented. "To be able to use the media and the First Amendment to, in effect, advance his or her or some corporation's own agendas. That's what happened to Nicholas."