Nick Sandmann and his family are milking every bit of media attention for being an arrogant 16-year-old wearing a Make America Great Again hat who was disrespectful to a Native American elder. Now, they family from Kentucky has reportedly hired a high-powered lawyer known for suing media outlets.
The Sandmann family hired L. Lin Wood, “who is known for aggressively pursuing libel and slander lawsuits against media outlet,” the New York Post reported. Wood has also been famously labeled the “attorney for the damned.”
He represented JonBenet Ramsey’s brother in a $750 million defamation suit against CBS. He also represented the family of Richard Jewell, the man who was wrongly accused of the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta. Both of those suits resulted in massive settlements for his clients.
Sounds like the Sandmann family is trying to cash-in.
Earlier this week, the 16-year-old Covington Catholic High School student appeared on the “Today Show” and said he did nothing wrong when he and his classmates were caught on video appearing to taunt Nathan Phillips during a visit to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The combination of Sandmann’s defiant smirk underneath Donald Trump‘s signature MAGA hat during a confrontation with a Native American — a group frequently disparaged by the president — prompted varying accounts from witnesses. But Sandmann’s version of events came across as insincere at best and a lie at worst.
“As far as standing there, I had every right to do so,” he told Savannah Guthrie. “My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him. I’d like to talk to him. In hindsight, I wish we could have walked away and avoided the whole thing, but I can’t say that I’m sorry for listening to him and standing there.”
He also said Black Israelites were “shouting a bunch of homophobic, racist, derogatory comments at us.” He claims he felt “threatened” and he wasn’t sure “what was going to happen next.”
When asked if any of his classmates shouted slurs back, he answered with this gem: “We’re a Catholic school, and it’s not tolerated. They don’t tolerate racism, and none of my classmates are racist people.”
As a result, many mainstream media outlets have been systematically trying to discredit Phillips in every way imaginable, from his military service to his criminal record — neither of which are relevant to the situation that unfolded Jan. 18. Phillips appeared on NBC’s “Today” Thursday and said, “Even though I’m angry, I still have that forgiveness in my heart for those students. I forgive him.”
The incident reportedly happened toward the end of the Indigenous Peoples March near the Lincoln Memorial. The video shows the boys surrounding Phillips, who was beating a drum while singing the American Indian Movement song that’s used in a ceremony to send the spirits home.
But what captured widespread attention was the image of Sandmann staring at Phillips with a smirk on his face as his classmates cheered him on.
After the video went viral, the boys were widely criticized. But a PR firm hired for Sandmann launched a campaign to defend the boys that apparently worked, based on the overwhelming support the students have received.