By Paulina Dedaj
Published February 20, 2019
An attorney representing a Covington Catholic High School student suing The Washington Post for $250 million told Fox News on Wednesday that the pricey lawsuit “isn't about the money, it’s about the message.”
Todd McMurtry, the lawyer representing student Nicholas Sandmann, spoke to Todd Starnes about a lawsuit filed Tuesday that “seeks significant damages” from The Post for allegedly targeting his client “just so the media could make the point it wanted to make.”
The lawsuit accuses The Post of "using its vast financial resources to enter the bully pulpit by publishing a series of false and defamatory print and online articles ... to smear a young boy who was in its view an acceptable casualty in their war against the president."
“What we hope to accomplish with the lawsuit obviously is to obtain a large verdict,” McMurtry said on "The Todd Starnes Show." “And the reason we want to obtain a large verdict is so that things that things like the things that happened to Nick did not happen to others.”
Sandmann came under attack in January after a video surfaced of him standing face-to-face with a Native American man, Nathan Phillips, while wearing a “Make America Great Again.”
Sandmann and other Covington Catholic students were accused of initiating the altercation and intimidating Phillips but other videos showed that the students were verbally accosted by a group of black street preachers who were shouting insults both at them and a group of Native Americans.
McMurtry said the only truth that was reported by The Post was the Make America Great Again hat that his client was wearing -- and he says that’s the reason they went after him.
“I mean Nick is 16 years old. He hasn't even told me what his political affiliation is and nobody knows really what their political affiliation is going to be when they're 16 but because he was wearing that hat, he was used as a ... you know ... as a victim of scorn by the media, just so the media could make the point it wanted to make.”
Sandmann’s lawyers are seeking $50 million in compensatory damages, related to damages to emotional distress and his reputation, and $200 million in punitive damages.
McMurtry says the pricey lawsuit is the only way to send a message that'll help protect others from similar mistreatment in the future.
“Money is the way to inflict enough suffering on, you know, a weaponized publication like The Washington Post, so that that they won't do it again. And there's other people -- other organizations and media outlets -- that have become weaponized against our president.”
He said that while The Post is the first publication to be sued, there are plans for more litigation.
“We've identified a number of other individuals of news outlets that we think are also potentially liable for defamation. We've analyzed these matters and we think we have a good-faith basis to bring these claims and over the next 30 and 60 days, you will see more lawsuits.”