CNN Settles Lawsuit From Free Beacon Man of the Year Nick Sandmann

Sandmann accused CNN of falsely portraying him as the aggressor in a viral January 2019 confrontation

Nick Sandmann and Nathan Phillips
January 7, 2020

Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann scored a legal victory against fake news after CNN agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging that the network falsely tarred the teenager as racist.

The settlement was announced at a Tuesday hearing at the federal courthouse in Covington, Ky., according to Cincinnati FOX affiliate FOX19. A source at CNN confirmed the settlement to the Washington Free Beacon but said that details have yet to be finalized.

"The case is settled," Sandmann attorney Todd McMurtry also confirmed in an email. "We have no comment."

Sandmann's lawsuit charged that CNN's coverage of a January 2019 confrontation between the student and Native American activist Nathan Phillips was false and one-sided, based only on interviews with Phillips and a selectively edited Twitter video. The full one-hour video taken at the March for Life contradicted Phillips's claims that Sandmann and his fellow students approached him, "blocked" and "surrounded" him, and chanted "build the wall."

Sandmann, a Washington Free Beacon Man of the Year, filed the lawsuit in March 2019, arguing that CNN defamed him as part of a larger campaign against supporters of President Donald Trump. Attorneys for the 16-year-old Kentucky native sought $75 million in compensatory damages and $200 million in punitive damages "to punish and to deter CNN from ever again engaging in false, reckless, malicious, and agenda-driven attacks on children."

Lawsuits against the Washington Post and NBCUniversal remain pending. Sandmann attorney Lin Wood told FOX19 that they also plan to file lawsuits against Phillips and Gannett, the publisher of the Cincinnati Enquirer.