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    Covington High Student Sues CNN Over Coverage of Lincoln Memorial Altercation

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    Media giant CNN was hit with a $275 million defamation lawsuit Tuesday over its coverage of a now-viral confrontation between a Native American activist and Nick Sandmann, a high school student from Covington, Kentucky.

    The suit, which was filed on Sandmann's behalf, states that CNN aired multiple "defamatory" broadcasts and published several articles online that falsely depicted the teenager as the "face of the unruly hate mob." The complaint also claims Sandmann and his classmates were made to appear as if they were "engaging in racist conduct."

    "The CNN accusations are totally and unequivocally false, and CNN would have known them to be untrue had it undertaken any reasonable efforts to verify their accuracy before publication," the suit reads, Reuters reported.

    The development comes just days after Lin Wood, Sandmann's legal representative, told Fox News that a lawsuit would be filed against CNN over its "vicious" reporting on his client.

    "Nicholas Sandmann did absolutely nothing wrong," Wood told Fox News host Mark Levin at the time. "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 guy with a young boy, that Make America Great Again cap on. So they go after him."

    The lawsuit stems from a filmed January 2019 incident in which Sandmann, who is recorded sporting a red "Make America Great Again" hat, is seen smirking and standing face-to-face with activist Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

    Sandmann and company were in the nation's capital to participate in the March for Life, an anti-abortion rally. Phillips, who is an Omaha Nation elder, had been participating in the Indigenous Peoples March.

    ​Footage initially shared of the viral incident showed Covington students laughing and appearing to mock Phillips as he chanted near the DC landmark. Additional videos later revealed that their confrontation came after a prior altercation with members of a group known as the Black Hebrew Israelites, which the students had not instigated and which Phillips hoped to defuse.

    The students' actions were condemned after Covington Catholic High School officials caught wind of the incident, but Sandmann insists that his actions, like Phillips', were meant only to calm tensions between the students and the Hebrew Israelites.

    The suit against CNN is the second to be filed against a media organization with regard to coverage of the January confrontation. The Washington Post was the first outlet to be hit with Sandmann's legal retaliation, in the form of a $250 million lawsuit filed in February.

    At the time, Wood and fellow partner Todd McMurtry said in a statement that the Washington Post suit "is only the beginning." The Post later responded to the move, stating that it would be conducting a review and was "plan[ning] to mount a vigorous defense."


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