Lawyers for Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann filed a $275 million lawsuit against CNN on Tuesday for smearing Sandmann earlier this year.
Fox News reported that the lawsuit was “filed just after 3 p.m. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky,” and claimed “that CNN ‘elevated false, heinous accusations of racist conduct’ against Sandmann and failed to adhere to ‘well-established journalistic standards and ethics.'”
Attorney Todd McMurtry appeared on Fox News’ “The Story” on Tuesday where he said, “It is a significant lawsuit seeking $75 million in compensatory damages and $200 million in punitive damages from CNN.”
Last week, attorney L. Lin Wood, who also represents Sandmann, told Fox News’ Mark Levin that they were going to sue CNN for over $250 million.
“What specifically does this lawsuit highlight about what we are seeing in that video and what happened in the minutes and hours that followed?” Fox News’ Sandra Smith asked.
“Well, what CNN’s tagline is facts first. And what we believe their reporting was in this circumstance was lies first; cover up second, and facts not yet determined by that organization,” McMurtry responded. “So the difference between this lawsuit and the other lawsuit that we have filed is that CNN is a very significant media organization with a much broader reach than say The Washington Post. It has a Twitter followers of 41 million people. It published four videos. Nine online articles that were tweeted out. So that’s millions and millions and millions of repetitions of the lies and falsehoods that CNN spread.”
Sandmann’s lawyers filed a $250 million lawsuit last month against The Washington Post and have sent letters to 54 entities instructing them to preserve documents for potential lawsuits.
Transcript provided via Fox News:
SANDRA SMITH, FOX NEWS: Here now exclusively is Todd McMurtry, co-counsel for Nicholas Sandmann. Todd, thank you for coming on the program tonight.
TODD MCMURTRY, CO-COUNSEL FOR NICHOLAS SANDMANN: Thank you.
SMITH: So first off, this is breaking news. We’re just now bringing this to our audience. What can you tell us?
MCMURTRY: Well, we just filed the lawsuit today in the Federal District Court in Kentucky, the eastern district. And as you said earlier, it is a significant lawsuit seeking $75 million in compensatory damages and $200 million in punitive damages from CNN.
SMITH: What specifically does this lawsuit highlight about what we are seeing in that video and what happened in the minutes and hours that followed?
MCMURTRY: Well, what CNN’s tagline is facts first. And what we believe their reporting was in this circumstance was lies first; cover up second, and facts not yet determined by that organization. So the difference between this lawsuit and the other lawsuit that we have filed is that CNN is a very significant media organization with a much broader reach than say the Washington Post. It has a Twitter followers of 41 million people. It published four videos. Nine online articles that were tweeted out. So that’s millions and millions and millions of repetitions of the lies and falsehoods that CNN spread.
SMITH: And what was the impact on — on Nicholas Sandmann, this high school student?
MCMURTRY: Well, we’ve talked about the impact the impact on Nicholas Sandmann a number of times and it — it is significant. Nicholas Sandmann was a 16 year old man who had a perfect reputation. He was loved by his parents, respected at his school, and had many good friends at Covington Catholic High School. So he was a person that was doing very well in life and due to his strong character, he still is. But never the less, his character has now been determined by the lies issued by CNN. So the facts were not first, the lies were.
SMITH: And this of course wasn’t just what — what went out on — on television that day. It wasn’t just what went out in print media. It was also about a social media impact that we all witnessed.
And I know that you were talking about in this lawsuit, online Twitter 7 AM, the network was retweeting this — the short snip it that so many got to know when this story was starting to unfold.
MCMURTRY: Correct. Sending out a short snippet like that at 7 AM after the event happens is totally irresponsible, completely negligent, and in our view subject to punitive damages. They did this without any reasonable investigation. They took something straight off Twitter that had been, in essence, manipulated so that it told one story and they reported it as the truth.
SMITH: Is there anything that — any choice that you’re giving the network at this point to respond to limit potential damages?
MCMURTRY: We have issued a — an opportunity to — for CNN to retract. They did not retract within the timeline provided for my Kentucky law. So their opportunity to retract is now passed. So we will proceed for our lawsuit for both compensatory and punitive damages.
SMITH: So there’s no opportunity still for them to respond?
MCMURTRY: No. Not under the law. If they try to do it now under the law, it’s too late. They can certainly do that if they choose to on their own accord but it does not — it would not affect the lawsuit from a legal stand point.
SMITH: Of course it was the Washington Post and now you’re outlining an even bigger sum of money in — in this particular lawsuit against CNN. Are there — are there others that will follow here?
MCMURTRY: Certainly. We’re looking at other potential defendants. We plan to file a suit every few weeks or month. We probably have 10 — at least 10 top targets in the media and individuals, some of whom were people that were involved in — in Twitter attacks.
But certainly there are defendants to come. Others that will be given an opportunity to retract those statements. And we’ll give them that opportunity first. So they’ll have an opportunity to retract.
SMITH: So do — do those outlets already know about this? I mean are you naming names? Can you tell us tonight?
MCMURTRY: I — as to whom we are looking at, who we think crossed the line; certainly we’re looking very closely at NBC, we’re looking very closely at AP, we’re looking very closely at HBO for the conduct of Bill Maher, and we’re looking at some of the people who — like Kathy Griffin who sent out these — these horrible tweets that are — that are called docking (ph).
You know where you — you like to say to somebody go get their name and address with the idea being that somebody’s going to show up and possible do physical harm to them.
SMITH: How do those lawsuits compare? And we’ll wrap it up here. How do those lawsuits compare to — to the one’s we’ve seen so far?
MCMURTRY: We think that we have identified the Washington Post first because it was first out of the gate and CNN second because of the scope and the significant things that it said that were false. So we do feel that we’ve hit the top two first. But the others are very close in line. This is — this is a group that did very much — the group of defendants and potential defendants did very much the same thing.
SMITH: All right, Todd McMurtry, we appreciate you coming on the program tonight.