CNN settles lawsuit with Nick Sandmann stemming from viral video controversy

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CNN has settled a lawsuit with a Kentucky high school student who was at the center of a viral video controversy, a spokesperson for the news network confirmed Tuesday.

No other details were immediately available. An attorney for the student, Nicholas Sandmann, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Sandmann only tweeted, “Yes, we settled with CNN.”

The news was first reported by WXIX-TV. The local outlet said a settlement figure was not made public at a court hearing in Covington, Kentucky.

The settlement will allow CNN to avoid a lengthy and potentially unpredictable trial. Sandmann sought $275 million in damages in the lawsuit he filed against CNN last March.

Sandmann, a student at Covington Catholic High School, became a national news story when he was in Washington on January 18, 2019, for the annual March for Life rally.

In a video that gained national attention, Sandmann was in an encounter with Omaha tribe elder Nathan Phillips, who was beating a hand-held drum and singing at the Indigenous Peoples March at the Lincoln Memorial on the same day.

Another video that surfaced days later provided additional context for the encounter, but the first video had gone viral, touching off widespread controversy as photos of the teenager and the red Make America Great Again hat he was wearing spread across social media.

In the second video, a group of black men who identified as members of the Black Hebrew Israelites were seen taunting the students from Covington Catholic High School with disparaging language and shouting racist slurs at participants in the Indigenous Peoples Rally and other passersby.

Sandmann at the time strongly denied accusations against him, saying he had been trying to “defuse the situation” by “remaining motionless and calm.”

Major news outlets, including the Washington Post, the Associated Press and CNN, covered the aftermath of the incident.

Sandmann also filed lawsuits against NBC Universal and The Washington Post. In July, a federal judge in Kentucky dismissed the lawsuit against The Washington Post. Part of that lawsuit, however, was later reinstated in October.

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