Entertainment

Judge Reopens Lawsuit Against The Washington Post For Defamation By Teen Nick Sandmann

Federal U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman has reopened Covington Catholic student, Nick Sandmann’s, $250 million defamation case against The Washington Post. Judge Bertelsman had dismissed the suit in July but is now allowing a discovery process in regards to three of the 33 libel claims against The Washington Post. Additionally, a separate multimillion-dollar claim filed against CNN has been granted discovery.

As you may recall, The Washington Post reported a January 18 incident during which Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann and Omaha Nation elder Nathan Phillips were recorded in a standoff at the Lincoln Memorial Stairs. Now, Judge Bertelsman is allowing Sandmann’s legal team to access The Washington Post’s documents at the time as they pertain to alleged defamatory statements about Sandmann “blocking” Phillips from exiting the confrontation.

Nick Sandmann is claiming that he was falsely labeled a racist and vilified by The Washington Post and other press.

Credit: @TruNorthReports / Twitter

Sandmann and his fellow Covington Catholic peers were demonstrating at the annual anti-abortion March for Life protest, all donning Make America Great Again hats. Nathan Phillips was participating in the Indigenous Peoples March. Viral footage showed Phillips singing and playing a drum face-to-face with Sandmann, who is seen smiling. His peers, also plaintiffs in the case, are shown in the background, jeering and laughing. 

As the story quelled to a national platform for debate, new footage was unearthed that showed Phillips, in fact, approached Sandmann. The suit claims that The Post ‘bullied’ the plaintiffs to further an alleged ‘anti-Trump agenda.’

At first, Judge Bertelsman dismissed the suit on grounds of First Amendment protections of the press.

Credit: @weareinformed / Twitter

“Few principles of law are as well-established as the rule that statements of opinion are not actionable in libel actions,” Bertelsman initially said in his 36-page judgment last week. The First Amendment protects opinions printed in the press. Phillips had told The Washington Post that he was blocked from passing, and The Washington Post claims it was simply relaying Phillips’ opinion alongside Sandmann’s. Still, Sandmann’s legal team has cited three Twitter posts and seven articles that they deem ‘defamatory’ to their plaintiffs.

Sandmann has become the martyr of the right’s perceived war against #FakeNews, as instigated by President Trump.

Credit: @realDonaldTrump / Twitter

When Sandmann initially filed suit, the President of the United States tweeted, “Covington student suing WAPO. Go get them Nick. Fake News!” Just today, Trump applauded the judge’s decision and denounced “the thoroughly disgusting Washington Post (which is no longer available at the White House!).” His tweet has been liked 84k times with over 21k retweets, many of which come with comments like, “That is excellent news in the fight against #FakeNewsMedia outlets that set out to destroy innocent people’s lives. I hope that Nick wins millions of dollars.”

“This is a huge win,” tweeted attorney Todd McMurtry. “Now #NickSandmann will be able to start discovery and find out exactly what the reporters were thinking when they attacked Nicholas and the #CovingtonCatholic kids.”

The new decision is likely to reopen a string of other suits in Sandmann’s favor and has already opened a case against CNN.

Credit: @SteveGuidetti / Twitter

A week after The Washington Post suit was filed, McMurty filed multimillion-dollar suits against CNN and NBC. Today, the court released a new motion that grants discovery in the case against CNN. “As in the Washington Post case,” court documents read, “the Court believes that discovery is necessary to determine what happened in the unfortunate events which give rise to this litigation, and, to determine whether defendant accurately reported them, and, if it failed to do so, whether the failure was due to negligence or malice.”

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and CNN correspondent Ana Navarro are also implicated in a separate suit that would grant Sandmann up to $600,000.

Credit: @ananavarro / Twitter

The eight students are listed anonymously and claim that Warren and Navarro, along with ten other defendants, defamed their character and erroneously caused harm to their reputation and lives. In a tweet the following day, Navarro actually came to the defense of Sandmann, tweeting, “Some see it differently & yes, it’s complicated. I think the kid was obnoxious as hell & got into Native American elder’s face. But come on. For God’s sake. It’s Martin Luther King Day. Nobody -specially some kid not old enough to grow a beard- should get death threats. Stop.”

The defendants in the suit also include activist Shaun King, US Representative Deb Haaland, comedian Kathy Griffin, ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd, Mother Jones Editor-in-Chief Clara Jefferey, Rewire Editor-in-Chief Jodi Jacobson, Kentucky entrepreneur Adam Edelen, and former CNN correspondent Reza Aslan.

READ: The President Tried Making Vulgarity Mainstream With An Attack Against Mitt Romney But Ana Navarro Had Time To Play

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‘Selena’ Producer Sues Abraham And Suzette Quintanilla Over Limited Series

Entertainment

‘Selena’ Producer Sues Abraham And Suzette Quintanilla Over Limited Series

Jordan Murph / Getty Images for MAC Cosmetics

Moctesuma Esparza is suing Netflix, Abraham and Suzette Quintanilla over “Selena: The Series.” Esparza is seeking damages of $1 million for an alleged breach of contract. The lawsuit comes one month before the series is set to debut on Netflix.

“Selena: The Series” is almost here and there’s a new lawsuit about the project.

“Selena” producer Moctesuma Esparza is suing Netflix along with Abraham and Suzette Quintanilla over the new limited series. The lawsuit claims that Selena’s father and sister broke an agreement they entered into that gave him the rights to the late-Tejano singer’s life, according to TMZ.

Esparza claims that the deal made for the rights included more than just the 1997 biopic.

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According to TMZ, Esparza claims that the agreement made included any remakes of the story. Esparza also claims that he has the rights to the story of every character. The documents allege that Esparza met with Suzette and Abraham to discuss a project he created for “Young Selena.”

The conversation over Selena’s life rights began in 1995.

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Admiring this beauty today. 💜

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According to an article in the LATimes from 1995, the family and Esparza entered into an informal agreement. According to the article, instead of formal contracts about the rights to Selena’s story, Esparza gave the Quintanilla family final say on the script. In return, Esparza was able to completely handle the production side.

The article states that Esparza was not after the rights to Selena’s story at the time. However, Esparza is alleging that that changed in 1998 when he and the Quintanilla family formalized a deal over Selena’s rights.

Netflix’s “Selena: The Series” will be streaming on Dec. 4.

It isn’t clear what this lawsuit would mean for the series. The Quintanilla family is known for keeping a strong protector of Selena, her story, and her image.

The show is giving younger Selena fans a chance to get to know the younger Selena. This are the years leading up to the wild popularity in the Latino community and her English-language cross-over. It’s been decades since we got the first in-depth look into Selena’s life and fans cannot wait to finally have an in-depth look at a different moment in the iconic singer’s life.

READ: “Selena: The Series” Trailer Is Here And The ’80s Hairstyles Are Everything

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Kobe Bryant’s Wrongful Death Lawsuit Has Tragically Been Moved To Federal Court Despite Vanessa Bryant’s Pleas

Entertainment

Kobe Bryant’s Wrongful Death Lawsuit Has Tragically Been Moved To Federal Court Despite Vanessa Bryant’s Pleas

kobebryant / lacosheriff / Instagram

Updated October 7, 2020.

Soon after basketball player Kobe Bryant was killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others, reports surfaced from the Los Angeles Times that L.A. County sheriff’s deputies had captured and shared photos of the accident site. Abominably, these images included pictures of the victims. Worse, deputies allegedly continued to share the photos in the days following the horrific accident that transpired in Calabasas, California.

During a time when she should have been allowed to mourn, Bryant’s wife Vanessa Bryant worked to file a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department alleging violation of privacy.

Bryant’s wrongful death lawsuit against the owner of Kobe Bryant’s doomed helicopter has been moved to federal court.

Bryant’s lawsuit claimed Island Express is liable for the deaths of her husband and daughter because the helicopter was only licensed to fly in visually navigable conditions.

According to paperwork obtained by the Daily News, Bryant filed her original wrongful death complaint against Island Express Helicopters this past February at Los Angeles County’s Superior Court. In response, the helicopter company filed a cross-complaint against two federal air traffic controllers, “triggering the venue change.”

Vanessa’s lawyers have argued that the removal was made as part of a “transparent and untenable attempt to forum-shop their way into federal court.”

“Defendants unlawfully and improperly seek to deprive Mrs. Bryant of her lawful choice of forum in California state court,” the lawyers argued in a September filing.

In response to Bryant’s lawsuit, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill in September to prohibit first responders from taking photographs of deceased victims ″outside of job duties.”

AB 2655 was signed by Newsom on Monday and prohibits first responders from taking photographs, not related to job duties, of deceased victims. According to KCBS, Violation of the law will result in a misdemeanor.

AB 2655 states that “Existing law generally prohibits a reproduction of any kind of photograph of the body, or any portion of the body, of a deceased person, taken by or for the coroner at the scene of death or in the course of a post mortem examination or autopsy, from being made or disseminated. Existing law generally makes a person who views, by means of any instrumentality, including, but not limited to, a camera or mobile phone, the interior of any area in which the occupant has a reasonable expectation of privacy, with the intent to invade the privacy of a person or persons inside, guilty of a misdemeanor. This bill would make it a misdemeanor for a first responder, as defined, who responds to the scene of an accident or crime to capture the photographic image of a deceased person for any purpose other than an official law enforcement purpose or a genuine public interest. By creating a new crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would require an agency that employs first responders to, on January 1, 2021, notify those first responders of the prohibition imposed by the bill. By increasing the duties of local agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.”

The images of the crash site victims occurred despite a personal request from Vanessa Bryant to Sheriff Alex Villanueva on the morning of the crash to request the site be secured for privacy.

This was a legal claim filed against the department in May.

″In reality, however, no fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies were at the scene snapping cell-phone photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches,″ the document filed by Vanessa explained ″As the Department would later admit, there was no investigative purpose for deputies to take pictures at the crash site. Rather, the deputies took photos for their own personal purposes.”

Vanessa Bryant filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

On Jan. 26, a helicopter carrying Kobe and Gianna Bryant, Payton and Sarah Chester, Alyssa, Keri, and John Altobelli, Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan crashed in the Calabasas hills. The sudden death devastated those who knew Kobe and the city of Los Angeles that mourned his death for months after.

Vanessa was shocked to hear that the sheriff deputies took photos of her husband’s and daughter’s bodies at the crash site.

“This lawsuit is about accountability and about preventing this disgraceful behavior from happening to other families in the future who have suffered loss,” Vanessa’s attorney, Luis Li, said in a statement. “The department formally refused Mrs. Bryant’s requests for information, saying it was ‘unable to assist’ with any inquiry and had no legal obligation to do so. It’s now for a court to tell the department what its obligations are.”

Bryant sued the department claiming damages for emotional distress, negligence, and invasion of privacy.

Kobe fans are upset with the LACSD and the allegations that the deputies took these photos.

According to TMZ, Sheriff Alex Villanueva knew about the photos taken by eight deputies and shared within the department. They were also shared in the Lost Hills Sheriff’s substation. Sheriff Villanueva told the deputies to delete the photos from their phones and felt confident they did so.

A trainee allegedly shared the photos with a woman in a bar.

A witness to the event said that a trainee took out his phone and showed a woman the photos to impress her. The bartender overheard the conversation and filed an online complaint about the trainee and their behavior with the photos. The trainee showed the woman the photos a few days after the crash leading many to believe that the sheriff’s department was fully aware of the photos.

Kobe fans are standing behind Vanessa as she follows through with her lawsuit.

Reports state that the sheriff’s department told deputies to delete the images to avoid disciplinary action. The coverup is sparking outrage by Kobe fans who are angered that the department did not do enough to protect the dignity and privacy of all of the victims of the crash.

Mitú will update this story as it continues to develop.

READ: Vanessa Bryant Forced To Respond To ‘Beyond Hurtful’ Comments Made By Her Own Mom On ‘El Gordo y La Flaca’

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