A federal judge has dismissed libel lawsuits against five media companies that a Kentucky student filed over an incident at the Lincoln Memorial in January 2019 in Washington D.C. which generated national news coverage.
Nick Sandmann, who was a 16-year old student at Covington Catholic in Northern Kentucky at the time of the incident, was the center of videos that went viral which showed Sandmann and Nathan Phillips, a Native American man, standing face to face as Phillips beat a drum and sang a traditional song while Sandmann smiled.
The five lawsuits were thrown out by United States District Eastern Kentucky Court Judge William Bertelsman according to documents filed on Tuesday. The complaints were against media outlets The New York Times, CBS, ABC, Gannett Co. Inc, and Rolling Stone. Sandmann filed the lawsuits in federal court in Kentucky.
Sandmann’s attorney, Todd McNurty told the Herald-Leader they were “disappointed,” and intend to file an appeal. He declined to comment any further.
The ruling focused on statements published by the media outlets in which Phillips said Sandmann had “blocked” or “wouldn’t allow” him to leave as the two stood face to face at the monument.