UPDATE — 4:50 PM: A CNN spokesperson confirmed to the Cincinnati Enquirer that the network has settled a lawsuit with Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann. Read Breitbart News’s original report below.
CNN has agreed to settle a $275 million lawsuit brought by Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann over the network’s coverage of a confrontation involving himself and his classmates and a Native American man during a school trip to Washington, DC, last year, FOX 19 reported Tuesday.
The terms of the settlement were not publicized during the hearing at the federal courthouse in Covington, Kentucky. Sandmann sought $800 million in damages from CNN, the Washington Post, and NBC Universal. Lawsuits against the latter news outlets are still pending.
“This case will be tried not one minute earlier or later than when it is ready,” Lin Wood, an attorney for the student, said of the lawsuits.
Sandmann and his classmates were accused of mocking Native American activist Nathan Phillips while wearing a red “Make America Great Again” baseball hat during last January’s March for Life event.
Both Sandmann and Phillips said they were trying to defuse tensions that were rising among three groups on a day Washington hosted both the anti-abortion event, attended by the Covington students, and the Indigenous Peoples March. But video of Sandmann and Phillips standing very close to each other, with Sandmann staring and at times smiling at Phillips as he sang and played a drum, gave some who watched it a different impression.
Interpretations changed over the days following the incident as witnesses released more cellphone video footage. Phillips had approached Sandmann, but well before that, both his group and Sandmann’s were confronted by a third group that appeared to be affiliated with the Black Hebrew Israelite movement.
Videos show members of the religious group yelling disparaging and profane insults at the students, some of whom shouted back. Video also shows the Native Americans being insulted by the small religious group. Sandmann’s legal team has released its own video, “Nick Sandmann: The Truth in 15 Minutes.” It shows scenes from the confrontation, clips from news coverage and interviews, and examples of harsh Tweets and comments aimed at Sandmann and his high school.
In an interview with NBC’s Today, Sandmann said that while he had a right to stand by Phillips, he wishes the incident unfolded differently. “As far as standing there, I had every right to do so,” the student told interviewer Savannah Guthrie. “My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him. I’d like to talk to him. I mean, in hindsight, I wish we could have walked away and avoided the whole thing. But I can’t say that I’m sorry for listening to him and standing there.”
“In hindsight, I wish we had just found another spot to wait for our buses, but at the time being positive seemed better than letting them slander us with all of these things,” he added. “So, I wish we could have walked away.”
Sandmann then explained he did not walk away from the activist as he was concerned it would have been viewed as disrespectful. “Well, now I wish I would have walked away. I didn’t want to be disrespectful to Mr. Phillips and walk away if he was trying to talk to me, but certainly I was surrounded by a lot of people I didn’t know that had their phones out, had cameras and I didn’t want to bump into anyone or seem like I was trying to do something,” he said.
President Donald Trump expressed support for Sandmann after he sued the Washington Post, tweeting: “Go get them, Nick. Fake News!”
“The Washington Post ignored basic journalistic standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.” Covington student suing WAPO. Go get them Nick. Fake News!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019
The Associated Press contributed to this report.