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Elizabeth Warren, Kathy Griffin Named in New Covington Suit

Dozen defendants 'invited public retaliation against these minors,' complaint claims
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2019 6:30 AM CDT
This Jan. 20, 2019, file photo shows Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Ky.   (AP Photo/Lisa Cornwell, File)

(Newser) – A $250 million defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post by Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann was just dismissed last week by a judge, but a new Covington complaint is now on the books, with a dozen public figures named as defendants. Per the Cincinnati Enquirer, the suit involves eight unnamed teens (Sandmann not among them, per his attorney) who were said to be at the National Mall in January during an encounter with Native American man Nathan Phillips that quickly went viral. Among those the suit is claiming made defamatory comments about the group it calls "the Covington Boys" are Sen. Elizabeth Warren, comedian Kathy Griffin, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, activist Shaun King, and CNN commentator Ana Navarro. Law & Crime has some of the tweets by the defendants that the plaintiffs take issue with.

Also named in the suit: New Mexico Rep. Debra Haaland, Mother Jones Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery, Rewire.News President Jodi Jacobson, writer Reza Aslan, Princeton history professor Kevin Kruse, political analyst Matthew Dowd, and Adam Edelen, a former Kentucky state auditor. "These defendants called for the kids to be named and shamed, doxxed and expelled, and invited public retaliation against these minors from a small town in Kentucky," the suit claims, per Fox News. "The defendants circulated false statements about them to millions of people around the world." At least one First Amendment-knowledgeable attorney, however, sees the suit as "exceedingly weak," telling the Enquirer that some of the remarks the students are complaining about were directed at the students as a group, not at individuals, making it harder to prove defamation. The suit seeks at least $15,000 but not more than $50,000 per student from each of the 12 defendants. (Read more Covington Catholic High School stories.)

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