CNN Settles Defamation Lawsuit With Covington Student Nicholas Sandmann

The settlement agreement was not made public

Last Updated: January 7, 2020 @ 1:23 PM

CNN settled a defamation lawsuit with Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann on Tuesday. A CNN spokesperson confirmed to TheWrap that a settlement was reached but did not comment on details.

A lawyer for Sandmann filed a $275 million defamation suit against CNN in March 2019, saying the network’s coverage of the student’s encounter with Native American tribal elder Nathan Phillips in January of that year constituted a “vicious attack” against his client.

“In short, the false and defamatory gist of CNN’s collective reporting conveyed to its viewers and readers that Nicholas was the face of an unruly hate mob of hundreds of white racist high school students who physically assaulted, harassed, and taunted two different minority groups engaged in peaceful demonstrations, preaching, song, and prayer,” according to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Kentucky.

In July 2019, a federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit from Sandmann against the Washington Post, but it was partially reopened in October. There are still no trial dates for the suit against the Post or another against NBC News, both of which also focus on coverage of the interaction between Sandmann and Phillips.

Representatives for the Washington Post and NBCUniversal did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment.

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