President Donald Trump on Wednesday tweeted his support for Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann after a federal judge reinstated a portion of his libel lawsuit against The Washington Post over its January coverage of a Right to Life March in Washington.
“A federal judge is allowing the Nick Sandman libel suit to move forward against the thoroughly disgusting Washington Post (which is no longer available at the White House!),” the president said in his post.
“He could now have a good chance of winning,” Trump added. “Go Nick!”
The White House last week canceled subscriptions of the Post and The New York Times, which the president has long described as publishers of “fake news.”
Federal District Court Judge William Bertelsman on Monday ruled that part of Sandmann’s lawsuit could continue to a discovery phase, after initially dismissing the case in July.
Bertelsman, however, said he stood by his original decision that 30 of the 33 statements in the Post’s article that Sandmann’s lawyers claimed were libelous were not.
The three other statements required further review, Bertelsman ruled, and will not allow him to “retreat” from the legal action altogether.
The judge’s decision allows Sandmann’s lawyers to seek internal Post documents about the events of the day, including emails and other communications between editors and reporters.
Sandmann and his lawyers have argued that the Post disclosed that he either assaulted or intimidated Native American activist Nathan Phillips and acted in a racist manner toward him after the Right to Life March in Washington on Jan. 18.
Sandmann was among a group of Covington Catholic students from Kentucky attending a rally at the Lincoln Memorial — and a video later showed Sandmann and Phillips standing close to each other in a crowd, with Sandmann staring at Phillips, who was beating a drum.
Sandmann’s classmates can be seen recording the encounter.
According to Sandmann’s attorneys, the Post’s report characterized their client as acting aggressively, which exposed him to public ridicule.