Covington student Nicholas Sandman has filed a lawsuit against CNN for $275 million dollars.
Sandman’s lawyer claims that CNN’s coverage of the Sandman’s encounter with Native American tribal elder Nathan Phillips in January constituted a “vicious attack” against his client.
Sandman’s lawyer Todd McMurtry went on Fox News “The Story with Martha MacCallum” and spoke with Sandra Smith who is filling in for MacCallum.
Here is a portion of that interview:
SMITH: So first off, this is breaking news. We’re just now bringing this to our audience. What can you tell us?
MCMURTRY: Well, we just filed the lawsuit today in the Federal District Court in Kentucky, the eastern district. And as you said earlier, it is a significant lawsuit seeking $75 million in compensatory damages and $200 million in punitive damages from CNN.
SMITH: What specifically does this lawsuit highlight about what we are seeing in that video and what happened in the minutes and hours that followed?
MCMURTRY: Well, what CNN’s tagline is facts first. And what we believe their reporting was in this circumstance was lies first; cover up second, and facts not yet determined by that organization.
So the difference between this lawsuit and the other lawsuit that we have filed is that CNN is a very significant media organization with a much broader reach than say the Washington Post.
It has a Twitter followers of 41 million people. It published four videos. Nine online articles that were tweeted out. So that’s millions and millions and millions of repetitions of the lies and falsehoods that CNN spread.
SMITH: And what was the impact on -- on Nicholas Sandmann, this high school student?
MCMURTRY: Well, we’ve talked about the impact the impact on Nicholas Sandmann a number of times and it -- it is significant. Nicholas Sandmann was a 16 year old man who had a perfect reputation.
He was loved by his parents, respected at his school, and had many good friends at Covington Catholic High School. So he was a person that was doing very well in life and due to his strong character, he still is.
But never the less, his character has now been determined by the lies issued by CNN. So the facts were not first, the lies were.
SMITH: And this of course wasn’t just what -- what went out on -- on television that day. It wasn’t just what went out in print media. It was also about a social media impact that we all witnessed.
And I know that you were talking about in this lawsuit, online Twitter 7 AM, the network was retweeting this -- the short snip it that so many got to know when this story was starting to unfold.
MCMURTRY: Correct. Sending out a short snippet like that at 7 AM after the event happens is totally irresponsible, completely negligent, and in our view subject to punitive damages. They did this without any reasonable investigation. They took something straight off Twitter that had been, in essence, manipulated so that it told one story and they reported it as the truth.
SMITH: Is there anything that -- any choice that you’re giving the network at this point to respond to limit potential damages?
MCMURTRY: We have issued a -- an opportunity to -- for CNN to retract. They did not retract within the timeline provided for my Kentucky law. So their opportunity to retract is now passed. So we will proceed for our lawsuit for both compensatory and punitive damages.