Following the incident that took place at this year’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., numerous students from Covington Catholic High School are being represented by attorney Robert Barnes. Barnes says his clients were libeled after the incident.
Over the weekend, he appeared on Fox News. During his time on the air, he mentioned potential targets of the lawsuit.
Remember when Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar who posted a tweet in which she claimed that the Catholic school students told a woman, “It’s not rape if you enjoy it.” She also took the side of the Black Hebrew Israelite protesters who were caught harassing the high school students. She claimed that the students were harassing the sect. Barnes stated that they asked her to retract her tweet. She complied.
Comedian Kathy Griffin, who also retracted tweets that were meant to dox the students, was also on the list.
Those facing possible suits are former CNN host Reza Aslan, who is known for “his frequently profane rants against anything that has to do with Donald Trump or conservatives,” according to Conservative Tribune.
He seemed to call for violence against the underage teen:
Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s? pic.twitter.com/jolQ7BZQPD
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) January 20, 2019
On Saturday, Barnes sat down with Fox News host Jesse Watters. On the air, Barnes revealed that Aslan is a possible lawsuit target:
“Matthew Dowd, the ABC News analyst who first lambasted the kids and then clung to the idea that the fuller video showed them to be racists,” is another possible target, according to Conservative Tribune.
— Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) January 21, 2019
“Check the footage. All of it. These students were exhibiting awful behavior and bigotry,” Dowd wrote in a since deleted tweet.
Conservative Tribune reports that “The New York Daily News is another potential target for their article mistaking a Covington Catholic ‘blackout game’ for an instance of blackface.”
Watters reminded that libel lawsuits are tough to win.
“From my limited understanding of the law — I did not go to law school — it’s a very high bar, the slander and the libel,” Watters explained. “I mean, you have to show malicious intent and knowingly that something is wrong and defamatory. It doesn’t always work in court. Are you confident you’re going to be able to secure judgments?”
Barnes said that this was a “unique exception.”
He stated, “When there is a defamation and libel of private citizens, particularly minors, then the legal standard goes way down. So you no longer have to prove actual malice or malevolent intent. All you have to prove is that a false statement was made — or in Kentucky, the law is even broader, ‘an unflattering impression given and a person’s impression in a false light’ — and otherwise … that it just be negligent to do so.”
He explained that this is why “the families gave individuals a 48-hour window to retract or delete their statements.”
“If they still refuse to do so, it’s clearly negligent for them to keep false statements up.”
Conservative Tribune reports:
And that’s not something I think the left particularly wants. At least at this point, the media is able to pass the kerfuffle off as a cultural Rorschach test: You see what you want to.
If it gets into a court of law and journalists who should have known better are clearly shown to have not known better, that’s not only going to drag this on — it’s more than likely to move this into a stage where news organizations are going to try to dig up dirt on minors to defend themselves or admit they were desperate to keep the narrative alive.
It’ll likely show, in a very public forum, how they denigrated and villainized underage kids for clicks and ratings.
That’s not a fate anyone who rushed to judgment on this case wants. The longer their arguments are out in the sun of public scrutiny, the more they wither and putrefy — and to a jury, that could look like a large cash award.