Attorney for Covington Catholic High students may sue for libel

By the editors

Although there is no lawsuit filed at this time, a California attorney, Robert Barnes, who is pro-bono representing families and students of Covington Catholic High School, according to LifeSiteNews, confirmed that the FBI and the Los Angeles police department are already investigating a bomb threat issued to his office.  He also confirmed that the state attorney of Kentucky and local Kentucky law enforcement are looking into threats against the school that triggered heavy police protection of the school.

Last Wednesday, Barnes announced those who had made erroneous reports about the Covington Catholic students had 48 hours to apologize and retract their statements or face lawsuits for libel.

“If you’ve said anything false about these kids,” Barnes explained to Fox News “Fox & Friends, “they are willing to extend you a 48-hour time period—a period of grace consistent with their Christian faith—for you to, through confession, get redemption and retract and correct and apologize.”

Respondents had until Friday to apologize and retract knee-jerk, accusatory statements made against the Covington students who had been falsely accused of harrassing activist native Americans who had surrounded the students chanting loudly and playing drums as the students waited for their bus after this year’s Washington DC March for Life.

Fake News: Knee-Jerk Condemnations

In the wake of an initial video that circulated regarding the incident and that failed to show the incident in its entirety, the Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High issued a joint statement condemning what they assumed were the students’ incinerary actions.

But in less than 24 hours the initial video was shown to be misleading, and the initial inflammatory statements against the students were proven false. 

Yet the damage was done.  The purposely false initial video quickly escalated in vile threats to the students and to their high school. Myriad of student-condemning rants, media coverage and statements echoed and generated further knee-jerk condemnation.

‘Fess up when wrong

The school retracted its condemnation soon after the truth of the situation emerged.

The diocese has been slower about issuing an apology, but the Covington Bishop has now apologized for prematurely condemning the students, and has removed all original, knee-jerk reactionary statements from the diocesan website.

Will students sue those who vilified them?

It remains to be seen whether or not any lawsuits will be filed, but the action is certainly not off the table. 

More than 50 media organizations, celebrities and politicans were sent letters from lawyers representing the Covington Catholic High school student seen in the initial video and false statement.

Fox News reports that those who received letters include Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), actors Alyssa Milano and Jim Carey, media organizations CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Diocese of Covington, to name a few. 

The letters advise parties not to destroy any documents in connection to the case and are the first step in a possible libel and defamation lawsuit.

The Truth

In addition to the letters, lawyers for student Nick Sandmann relased a 15-minute video of their own that shows the fuller picture of what happened as the students were waiting for their bus after the March for Life in D.C.

“2 weeks ago, the mainstream media, politicians, church officials, commentators & celebrities rushed to judgment to wrongfully condemn, threaten, disparage & vilify Nick Sandmann based solely on a few seconds of an out-of-context video clip. It only takes 15 minutes to learn the truth,” the video description, posted on YouTube, stated.

On Twitter, L. Lin Wood, a nationally recognized attorney in the fields of libel, defamation and the First Amendment who is part of Sandmann’s legal team, added: “Some say a 15-minute video is too long to go viral. Will we allow incomplete 30-second video clips to be basis for agenda-driven false accusations & threats against a 16-year old student? Please share the full truth about what was done to Nick Sandmann.”

And why not?

The students’ lives, and that of their families, and Covington Catholic High School and, by extension, the lives of all who attend the school, have been radically, negatively affected by a purposely false and strategically released and captioned video clip.

These are high school students. 

Catholic high school students.

They did nothing wrong, as subsequent video clips prove. 

Yet due to an initial, purposely false accusation and stunted video clip, these students and their school have endured death threats, other threats, mocking and public condemnation that still continues.  

It’s outrageous. 

Yet it happens almost daily that someone falsely accuses others of what they themselves are guilty of doing.  it happens in custody battles, politically biased reporting, agenda-driven rants, at the city, state and national levels.  And now to high schoolers who chose to walk in defense of unborn babies. 

It’s outrageous.  If a well-run, winning libel suit will curtail the false propaganda activists even a little, then why not?

Truth matters.  A lot.


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