UPDATED 1:50 PM PT — Sunday, November 24, 2019
16-year-old Nicholas Sandmann is one step closer to justice after experiencing a vicious attack by mainstream media. On Saturday, lawyers for the student stated Judge William Bertelsmann allowed Sandmann’s $275 million lawsuit against NBC Universal to proceed to the pretrial phase, where he can begin gathering evidence for his case.
The same judge previously dismissed similar suits Sandmann had filed against The Washington Post and CNN. The student’s lawyers noted the new decision is a major win.
As predicted, today Judge Bertelsman entered an order allowing the Nicholas Sandmann case against NBCUniversal to proceed to discovery just as he had earlier ruled with respect to WaPo & CNN cases. Huge, huge win!
— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) November 21, 2019
“What The Washington Post did is…admitted that the statements that Nathan Phillips had made, that Nicholas Sandmann had blocked and intimidated him, were false,” said attorney Todd McMurtry. “They stated those retractions in their newspaper and online.”
Kentucky teen Nicholas Sandmann had sued the Washington Post for $250M, saying it falsely labeled him racist after the confrontation with Indigenous leader Nathan Phillips.
A judge just dismissed the case on First Amendment grounds.
Here's a look back at Phillips' message: pic.twitter.com/AvzHGNFDoq
— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 26, 2019
Sandmann made headlines earlier this year for his encounter with Native American activist Nathan Phillips. Varying portrayals of their interaction were quickly circulated by media outlets.
Mainstream media outlets, including NBC, shared clips of the encounter and reported that Sandmann had mocked Phillips. One America News aired a full video of the interaction, which revealed Phillips actually approached Sandmann. It also showed the students being attacked with extremely vulgar language by a third party group.
The unedited, full length footage supported Sandmann’s claim he was trying to stand his ground in a peaceful manner. He previously stated he was unsure if Phillips was a part of this third party group that was insulting them.
“I see it as a smile, saying ‘this is the best you’re going to get out of me,’” Sandmann explained in a recent interview. “’You won’t get any for the reaction of aggression and I’m willing to stand here as long as you want to hit this drum in my face.’”
Months have gone by since the viral encounter and Sandmann continues to fight for retribution. He said outlets including NBC are responsible for damaging his reputation and for helping lead the threats against his life, which were made by thousands who only ever heard a part of the whole story.