Nicholas Sandmann, the MAGA hat-wearing teen who notably donned a mocking expression while staring down a Native American veteran on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, is suing CNN for defamation, seeking $275 million in damages. The announcement arrives weeks after the 16-year-old and his team of lawyers declared that they would be suing The Washington Post for $250 million on the basis that the publication allegedly "targeted and bullied" him.
The Kentucky-native and Covington Catholic High School student was at the center of the news cycle in January after he engaged in a viral face off with Nathan Phillips during the Indigenous People's March and the coinciding March for Life anti-abortion protest in Washington, D.C. The video shows Sandmann dismissively smirking at Phillips just inches away from his face, which prompted many reporters and social media users to condemn the boy's behavior as racist and insulting.
According to Sandmann's lawyer, CNN prioritized their anti-Trump agenda while allegedly engaging in a campaign set to attack the plaintiff. "Contrary to its ‘Facts First’ public relations ploy, CNN ignored the facts and put its anti-Trump agenda first in waging a 7-day media campaign of false, vicious attacks against Nicholas, a young boy who was guilty of little more than wearing a souvenir Make America Great Again cap while on a high school field trip to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.," the complaint read.
Coincidentally, the constitutional amendment that protects Sandmann's decision to don a Make American Great Again hat is a part of the same provision that disallows the government from hindering freedom of the press.
The boy's legal team has declared that the latest suit is a part of a broader strategy to pinpoint the various publications who allegedly insulted Sandmann while the video was dominating the media storm. In addition to taking legal action against CNN and The Washington Post, the child's lawyers told Fox News that they're "looking closely" at NBC, the Associated Press, and HBO. "CNN was probably more vicious in its direct attacks on Nicholas than The Washington Post. And CNN goes into millions of individuals' homes," attorney L. Lin Wood said.
CNN has yet to release a statement in response to the lawsuit.