News and Commentary

‘Heads Are Going To Roll’: Nick Sandmann’s Legal Team Threatens New Action Against CNN, Washington Post For Allegedly Violating Confidentiality Agreements

The legal team for Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann threatened new legal action on Monday against CNN after the network’s senior media reporter Brian Stelter and contributor Asha Rangappa were accused of violating a confidentiality agreement stemming from a lawsuit that CNN settled with Sandmann earlier this year.

Sandmann filed a series of lawsuits against media companies in response to being smeared over an encounter that he had with Omaha tribe elder Nathan Phillips in January 2019 that falsely portrayed Sandmann as an aggressor. Sandmann’s legal team settled a $250 million defamation lawsuit last week against The Washington Post and settled a $275 million lawsuit against CNN in January.

Sandmann attorney Lin Wood slammed Stelter on Monday after Stelter retweeted a tweet from attorney Mark S. Zaid that stated: “Those with zero legal experience (as far as I can tell) should not be conjecturing on lawsuits they know nothing about. What kind of journalism is that? I’ve litigated defamation cases. Sandman was undoubtedly paid nuisance value settlement & nothing more.”

“This retweet by @brianstelter may have cost him his job at @CNN,” Wood responded. “It is called breach of confidentiality agreement. Brian Stelter is a liar. I know how to deal with liars.”

CNN contributor Asha Rangappa responded to Zaid’s tweet by writing, “I’d guess $25K to go away.”

“This tweet by @AshaRangappa may have cost Ms. Rangappa her job at @CNN,” Wood responded. “It is called breach of confidentiality agreement. Asha Rangappa is a liar. I know how to deal with liars. Heads are going to roll at CNN or @N1ckSandmann is going to filing another lawsuit & reveal truth.”

Wood also went after Washington Post reporter Dan Zak for appearing to respond to someone on Twitter who asked him if he had settled any lawsuits “today.”

Zak responded, “I didn’t, no. But it makes sense that that the Post did! You settle for a small amount – without admitting fault (because there was none) – in order to avoid a more expensive trial that you would nonetheless win. It is, you might say, the American way.”

Wood responded, “This tweet by @MrDanZak may have cost him his job as a journalist at @washingtonpost It is called breach of confidentiality agreement. Dan Zak is a liar. I know how to deal with liars.”

The tweet from Zak appears to have been deleted.

“CNN was probably more vicious in its direct attacks on Nicholas than The Washington Post. And CNN goes into millions of individuals’ homes,” Wood told Fox News’ Mark Levin last year. “CNN couldn’t resist the idea that here’s a guy with a young boy, with that Make America Great Again cap on. So they go after him.”

“They really went after Nicholas with the idea that he was part of a mob that was attacking the Black Hebrew Israelites, yelling racist slurs at the Black Hebrew Israelites. Totally false,” Wood continued. “Now you say you’ve seen the tape; if you took the time to look at the full context of what happened that day, Nicholas Sandmann did absolutely nothing wrong. He was, as I’ve said to others, he was the only adult in the room.”

In an interview on Fox News last year, Sandmann attorney Todd McMurtry told anchor Sandra Smith, “Well, what CNN’s tagline is 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 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.”

“Well, we’ve talked about the impact on Nicholas Sandmann a number of times and it — it is significant,” McMurtry continued. “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 nevertheless, his character has now been determined by the lies issued by CNN. So the facts were not first, the lies were.”

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