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Sandmann lawyers agree to settlement in defamation lawsuit against CNN, terms not disclosed

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

Parties for both sides in the lawsuit involving Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann and CNN have confirmed that a settlement was reached Tuesday.

The settlement was agreed to at the federal courthouse in Covington but details, including a monetary amount, were not made public.

Sandmann (left) and Phillips

Sandmann’s attorneys sought $275 million in damages.

Sandmann is represented by Todd McMurtry of Ft. Mitchell-based Hemmer/DeFrank/Wessels and L. Lin Wood of Atlanta.

Both attorneys responded to Tuesday’s settlement on social media. McMurtry indicated he expects additional litigation resulting from the incident.

“I want to thank everyone for the many good wishes received today. Now, @LLinWood and I turn our attention to @NBCNews, @washingtonpost and additional defendants to be named soon,” McMurtry tweeted. 

Sandmann’s attorneys have also filed lawsuits against NBC Universal and The Washington Post.

In July, the lawsuit against The Washington Post was dismissed, but part of it was reinstated in October.

Wood posted this statement on his Twitter page.

“Long day up & back to KY for 26(f) conference with Court. @ToddMcMurtry & I have more to do in pursuit of truth & justice for Nicholas Sandmann, a fine young man. We will do it. Thanks for kind & supportive comments. Tired, but pursuit of truth & justice feels really good today.”

CNN also confirmed the settlement in an online story Tuesday evening

Sandmann was among a group of students at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., awaiting a ride on Jan 18,  when he had an encounter with Omaha Tribe elder Nathan Phillips.

The students were in the nation’s capital to attend the annual March for Life.

A video that was widely disseminated soon after the incident went viral and the encounter received worldwide attention.

Sandmann, who was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap, and other Covington Catholic students, were initially criticized in many media outlets and among some in the general public as the aggressors in the incident.

Another video released later, which provided additional context for the incident, appeared to show a group of men now identified as members of the Black Hebrew Israelites taunting the students. Phillips was in Washington D.C. to attend an Indigenous Peoples Rally, and there were reports that the Black Hebrew Israelites also shouted slurs at members of his group and other passersby.

In its story Tuesday, CNN indicated the settlement will allow it to avoid a lengthy and potentially unpredictable trial.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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