A federal judge in Kentucky reopened Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann’s $250 million defamation lawsuit against The Washington Post on Monday after having previously dismissed it over the summer.
“After reviewing an amended complaint, Judge William Bertelsman ordered Monday that the case could enter the discovery phase and hence a portion of the lawsuit against the newspaper could continue,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
The lawsuit is allowed to proceed but has been limited in scope after the judge said that 30 out of the 33 statements that Sandmann’s lawyers argued were libelous were not actually libelous.
The Enquirer added: “The judge’s order that discovery can continue means Sandmann’s legal team can make requests for internal Washington Post documents concerning the events like emails and communications between editors and reporters.”
“The Court will adhere to its previous rulings as they pertain to these statements except Statements 10, 11, and 33, to the extent that these three statements state that plaintiff ‘blocked’ Nathan Phillips and ‘would not allow him to retreat,'” Judge Bertelsman said on Monday, according to The Washington Times.
“Suffice to say that the Court has given this matter careful review and concludes that ‘justice requires’ that discovery be had regarding these statements and their context,” Bertelsman added. “The Court will then consider them anew on summary judgment.”
Sandmann attorneys Todd V. McMurtry and L. Lin Wood celebrated the judge’s decision, calling it a “huge win.”
“The Sandmann family and our legal team are grateful that Judge Bertelsman has allowed the case to proceed,” McMurtry said in an email, according to the Times. “The Court’s ruling preserves the heart of the Nicholas Sandmann’s claims. We can consider this a huge victory and look forward to initiating discovery against The Washington Post.”
McMurtry added on Twitter: “NEWSFLASH: Federal Judge William O. Bertelsman partially reversed his ruling to dismiss #nicksandmann’s claims against the @washingtonpost. Nick’s case may now proceed into discovery. The ruling bodes [well] for the NBC and CNN cases, as well.”
“This is a huge win,” McMurtry concluded. “Now #NickSandmann will be able to start discovery and find out exactly what the reporters were thinking when they attacked Nicholas and the #CovingtonCatholic kids.”
This is a huge win. Now #NickSandmann will be able to start discovery and find out exactly what the reporters were thinking when they attacked Nicholas and the #CovingtonCatholic kids.
— Todd V. McMurtry (@ToddMcMurtry) October 28, 2019
Wood wrote on Twitter: “As a prepare for summary judgment hearing today in LA in Vernon Unsworth v. Elon Musk, the news of our team’s huge win in Covington, KY reaffirms my career-long belief that our system of justice works. Nicholas Sandmann deserves his day in court against WaPo. Now he will get it.”
As a prepare for summary judgment hearing today in LA in Vernon Unsworth v. Elon Musk, the news of our team’s huge win in Covington, KY reaffirms my career-long belief that our system of justice works. Nicholas Sandmann deserves his day in court against WaPo. Now he will get it.
— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) October 28, 2019
Sandmann’s legal team also filed massive lawsuits against CNN and NBCUniversal for their smears against the teenagers.
Fox News reported on March 12 that “the lawsuit, filed just after 3 P.M. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, claims that CNN ‘elevated false, heinous accusations of racist conduct’ against Sandmann and failed to adhere to ‘well-established journalistic standards and ethics.'”
The Washington Times reported on May 1 that Sandmann’s attorneys filed a “$275 million lawsuit Wednesday against NBCUniversal over its coverage of the Kentucky teen, accusing the network of creating a ‘false narrative’ driven by its ‘anti-Trump agenda.'”