Covington Catholic students file lawsuit against public figures over social media comments about viral video

U.S. & World

KENTON COUNTY, Ky. — A 30-page libel lawsuit was filed against a dozen public figures who wrote about the Covington Catholic incident on social media and online.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight unnamed students who became the subjects of international scrutiny thanks to viral videos of an encounter in Washington, D.C., between Nicholas Sandmann, 16, and Native American activist Nathan Phillips.

The lawsuit goes after a number of people including a Princeton history professor and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

The suit claims the public figures made defamatory comments about the Covington Catholic High School students on social media and online. It says social media comments called for the boys to be publicly identified and retaliated against.

The suit lists the public figures as defendants, and they are as follows:

  • Rep. Debra Haaland (D-N.M.)
  • Ana Violeta Navarro Flores, a Republican strategist and political commentator
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and presidential candidate
  • Maggie Haberman, a White House correspondent for The New York Times and a political analyst for CNN
  • Kathy Griffin, a comedian and actress
  • Matthew Dowd, a political consultant
  • Reza Aslan, a scholar of religious studies and author
  • Kevin M. Kruse, a professor of history at Princeton University
  • Shaun King, an activist
  • Adam Edelen, former auditor of public accounts for the commonwealth of Kentucky
  • Clara Jeffery, editor-in-chief of Mother Jones
  • Jodi Jacobson, editor-in-chief of Rewire.News

According to the suit, everyone named as a defendant was given the chance to correct, delete or apologize for the statements once more information came out, but all of them refused to do so.

Kevin L. Murphy, who is an attorney from Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, is representing the students.

Last month, a judge threw out Sandmann’s defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post.

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