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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A Latina Firefighter in Boston Says the Department Retaliated Against Her When She Reported That She Was Sexually Assaulted by a Colleague

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A Latina Firefighter in Boston Says the Department Retaliated Against Her When She Reported That She Was Sexually Assaulted by a Colleague

Credit: Screenshot via CBS/WBZ

A former female firefighter was just given a settlement of $3.2 million by the city of Boston for what she characterized as a culture of sexual harassment, shaming, and silencing. Nathalie Fontanez says she was retaliated against by the Boston Fire Department for reporting a sexual assault she experienced at the hands of a colleague.

In 2018, Fontanez says she was sexually assaulted by fellow firefighter David Sanchez.

It all began when Fontanez joined the Boston Fire Department in 2011. The department was looking to hire fluent Spanish speakers, and Fontanez considered the opportunity a “golden ticket”. It was an opportunity for her, a single mom, to provide for her daughter without the assistance of welfare. And, she could prove to her daughter that women can do anything.

But Fontanez’s dream soon turned into a nightmare. After joining the department, she faced an inordinate amount of hazing and harassment because she was a woman and a Latina.

“I’m not a veteran. I’m not a man. I’m a Latin woman. If there was a totem pole, I was at the very bottom,” she explained. “I felt that I had to tolerate anything that came my way, because I was lucky to be there,” she said.

Per Fontanez, the incidents escalated until the day in question when she was assaulted at the firehouse by Sanchez.

After reporting the incident to her superiors, she says that her colleagues turned on her.

In a recent press conference, Fontanez explained the experience in more detail. “Incidents began to escalate and I was then shamed and labeled a trouble-maker,” she said. “The guys that I once relied on for my life’s safety now turned against me.”

While Sanchez was convicted of assault and battery and sentenced to two years of probation, Fontanez says that she was harassed and isolated by her station mates. According to her, the retaliation also included being denied a promotion and being ignored at social events.

“I was often reminded by some of my colleagues that I had taken a job from a man who could have been providing for his family, even though I was a single parent providing for mine,” she said.

Last month, the city settled with Fontanez for $3.2 million. But Fontanez says it’s not about the money–it’s about changing the toxic culture of firehouses. 

“I’m breaking my silence because I believe that women firefighters deserve equal treatment in the Boston Fire Department,” Fontanez said during the news conference. “However, at this point that is the dream, but not the reality, for many women firefighters. The department is overdue for change, and the time for change is now.”

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New Lawsuit Alleges that Alex Rodriguez is Guilty of Embezzlement and Racketeering: ‘He is a serial cheater and liar’

Entertainment

New Lawsuit Alleges that Alex Rodriguez is Guilty of Embezzlement and Racketeering: ‘He is a serial cheater and liar’

Photo via Getty Images

It looks like scandal just can’t stay away from A-Rod. The former Yankees all-star is now facing controversy based off of the claims filed in a lawsuit by his former brother-in-law, Constantine Scurtis.

The lawsuit alleges that Rodriguez is a pathological liar and cheater who embezzled millions of dollars through shady real estate deals.

The lawsuit states: “Defendant Alex Rodriguez, a former Yankees baseball player, is a serial cheater and liar. After cheating on his wife, Cynthia, and lying about his affairs, Alex Rodriguez then lied to and cheated his brother in law in their real estate partnership.”

According to Scurtis, he and Rodriguez formed a real estate partnership around the beginning of A-Rod’s marriage to his sister, Cynthia. The initial deal was that the duo would leverage A-Rod’s star power to attract clients and sales and would get 95% of the profits. Scurtis would get the rest of the profits, including acquisition fees when applicable.

Scurtis says that A-Rod sold their joint company without his consent and without giving him any of the profits.

But per Scurtis, in 2008, around the time that Rodriguez’s marriage to his first wife dissolved, A-Rod abruptly booted Scurtis from the partnership. Scurtis alleges that, up until that point, Rodriguez had previously lied to him and assured him that nothing would change in their business dealings.

The lawsuit also alleges that Rodriguez committed various acts of fraud, including concocting a “scheme to profit off of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ike.”

Hurricane Ike was a natural disaster that resulted in at least 195 deaths and billions of dollars in damage in 2008.

Scurtis says that Rodriguez committed insurance fraud, faking accounting records to claim that his properties sustained significantly more damage than they actually did.

The lawsuit alleges that A-Rod bribed an official who caught wind of the scheme to keep quiet.

“Through their racketeering,” the lawsuit said, “Rodriguez and his co-conspirators have caused Scurtis many millions of dollars in damages.”

Scurtis’s lawyer says that A-Rod will “face a jury on August 2, 2021, to answer claims that he and his co-conspirators engaged in a pattern of racketeering and embezzlement.”

“Scurtis never suspected that the tussle over the day-to-day operation of the business arising from his sister’s divorce would be followed by a systematic and fraudulent effort to eliminate Scurtis’s equity in the venture and strip him of the future financial rewards to which he was rightfully entitled,” says the lawsuit.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that Scurtis has brought a lawsuit against his ex-brother-in-law.

There seems to be no love lost between these two former business partners. Over the years, Scurtis has filed a multiple lawsuits against the Dominican ex-MVP, including a $100 million one in 2015 that included many of the same allegations. It is unclear how that situation ended, but judging by the newest lawsuit, Scurtis’s previous ones have not been successful.

As for A-Rod, he is hitting back at Scurtis’s claims, and filed a countersuit denying the accusations. We guess we’ll just keep our eyes peeled to see how this all turns out.

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