Federal judge William Bertelsman on Thursday allowed Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann’s $275 million libel lawsuit against NBCUniversal to move forward, rejecting the media company’s attempt to have the suit dismissed in full even as he threw out parts of it.
Sandmann, 16, sued NBC and other major news outlets in the aftermath of their coverage of a controversial interaction he and several of his classmates had with Native American activist Nathan Phillips near the Lincoln Memorial on January 18. Viral video of the incident showed Sandmann and Phillips standing face to face as Phillips loudly beat on a drum and Sandmann smirked from time to time. NBC asserted that Sandmann “blocked” Phillips and “did not allow him to retreat” during their interaction. Longer versions of the video showed that Phillips approached Sandmann, who stood mostly still during the incident.
Sandmann and his classmates wore “Make America Great Again” caps and were attending the annual March for Life, while Phillips was participating in the Indigenous Peoples March.
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