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Covington Catholic High School Student Swept up in Controversy Settles Lawsuit With CNN

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CNN has settled a lawsuit with Nick Sandmann the Covington Catholic High School student who was the subject of allegations of bigotry after a video of an encounter between him and a Native American protester went viral last year. 

Sandmann confirmed the news in a five-word tweet on Tuesday, “Yes, we settled with CNN.”

Last January, a video surfaced of Sandmann wearing a Make America Great Again hat and smiling while standing face to face with Native American activist Nathan Phillips.

Soon after the video surfaced, news agencies reported that Sandmann and his fellow classmates were taunting and mocking the man.

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Despite denying that he or his fellow students did anything wrong, they were ripped by commentators who accused them of being bigoted. One writer went so far as to call Sandmann’s smile “the look of white patriarchy.

However, a longer video came out, which showed the Phillips actually approached Sandmann while his class was moving away from a group known as the Black Hebrew Israelites after the group began hurling racial slurs at the students.

A private investigation firm also released a report which said that it did not find evidence that Sandmann, or any of the students, hurled racial slurs at Phillips or the Black Hebrew Israelites.

Sandmann filed the suit last March, referencing nine news stories and four news broadcasts that he said were defamatory, which said the network would have known to be false if it conducted “any reasonable efforts to verify their accuracy.”

“The CNN accusations are totally and unequivocally false, and CNN would have known them to be untrue had it undertaken any reasonable efforts to verify their accuracy before publication.”

The $275 million lawsuit sought $75 million for harm to Sandmann’s reputation and the rest for punitive damages. It was unclear how much CNN agreed to settle for.

Sandmann also has suits against The Washington Post and NBC Universal regarding their coverage of the incident. 

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