A Kentucky high school student who sued the Washington Post and CNN for portraying him as racist in their coverage of his stand-off with a Native American protester last year is now threatening to take the outlets to court again.
A lawyer for Nicholas Sandmann, a student at Covington Catholic High School, has vowed to take additional legal action against CNN and the Post for allegedly breaching confidentiality agreements under the settlements they made in the initial lawsuits.
Sandmann, 18, and the Post confirmed that they’d settled their lawsuit for an undisclosed amount last week. CNN settled their suit back in January, also for an undisclosed amount.
Attorney Lin Wood put the outlets back in his crosshairs on Monday as he accused CNN anchor Brian Stetler and a Post reporter of breaking confidentiality by tweeting about the settlements.
Wood first called out Stetler on Twitter on Monday afternoon after spotting a post the ‘Reliable Sources’ host had retweeted from attorney Mark Zaid, who speculated about how much money Sandmann walked away with from the settlement.
‘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?’ Zaid asked.
‘I’ve litigated defamation cases. [Sandmann] was undoubtedly paid nuisance value settlement & nothing more.’
Wood shared a photo of the retweet, writing: ‘This retweet by @brianstelter may have cost him his job at @CNN. It is called breach of confidentiality agreement. Brian Stelter is a liar. I know how to deal with liars.’
The attorney made the same attack on CNN analyst Asha Rangappa, who had responded to Zaid’s tweet about the settlement by writing: ‘I’d guess $25K to go away.’
In a retweet of Rangappa’s post, Wood wrote: ‘Heads are going to roll at CNN or [Sandmann] is going to filing another lawsuit & reveal truth.’
Wood also dragged Post reporter Dan Zak in the fray by sharing a photo of a since-deleted tweet he’d written about his outlet’s settlement over the weekend.
‘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,’ Zak wrote. ‘It is, you might say, the American way.’
A spokesperson for the Washington Post has since said that Zak’s tweet was taken down ‘because it had no basis in fact’.
‘Dan has no knowledge about the agreement,’ the spokesperson said.
In a series of related tweets over the course of the afternoon Wood pledged to take legal action against CNN and the Post if they refused to fire the offending journalists.
‘If CNN does not fire @brianstetler, I will be okay with a good butt spanking which will teach him not to ever again falsely speculate on confidential settlements,’ he wrote in one post. ‘Take him to the woodshed, CNN.’
Sandmann also laid into Stetler, tweeting: ‘I can’t decide if it’s worse to be Brian Stelter or believe Brian Stelter. He was never in any court hearing or meeting I was. So why does he act like he knows anything?’
It’s unclear whether Wood’s threats would hold up in court given that the tweets from Stetler, Zak and Rangappa are all speculative and in no way indicate that they had knowledge of the settlements.
If they didn’t have knowledge of the settlements, it’s unlikely that Wood could make the case that they breached confidentiality.
DailyMail.com has reached out to CNN and the Post for comment about the controversy.
Sandmann filed lawsuits against the Post, CNN and NBC last year after claiming the outlets vilified him following his stand-off with Nathan Phillips, an American Indian activist, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington in January 2019.
The teen and his family were seeking combined damages of more than $525million from the outlets, which he said had falsely conveyed to viewers and readers that he was ‘the face of an unruly mob’ facing off against Phillips during protests at the memorial while he was in Washington DC on a field trip.
Sandmann, who was wearing a MAGA hat, and his classmates were participating in the annual anti-abortion March for Life at the time, which coincided with an Indigenous Peoples March.
An image of Sandmann staring down Phillips while the Native American was drumming and singing quickly went viral.
Both Sandmann and Phillips had said they were trying to defuse tensions rising among three groups marching on the same day.
An organization of black ‘Hebrew Israelites’ demonstrating nearby added to the confusion.
While Sandmann was initially characterized as a smug racist who initiated a physical confrontation, video footage later debunked that interpretation.
Some outlets had reported that Sandmann and his classmates had ‘surrounded’ and ‘taunted’ the 64-year-old Phillips. They also claimed that a ‘smirking’ Sandmann had stood in Phillip’s path, blocking him from moving.