After the Kyle Rittenhouse "not guilty" verdict Friday, former Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann announced Sunday afternoon that he "just got off the phone" with the acquitted teen who is "in great spirits."
"Just got off the phone with Kyle. He's in great spirits!" Sandmann tweeted.
Sandmann, who famously settled a defamation suit against CNN, has voiced that he thinks Rittenhouse should sue establishment news outlets to "hold the media accountable" after left-wing pundits rushed to judgment on the murder trial.
"The parallels between me and Kyle Rittenhouse are impossible not to draw," Sandmann wrote in a column for the Daily Mail amid jury deliberations where he reached out to lend support. "The way the media has treated you is terrible, and you don't have to face it alone," Sandmann said to Rittenhouse.
Rittenhouse, who was on trial for the shooting deaths of two Black Lives Matter rioters and the injuring of a third during last summer's Jacob Blake riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was smeared as a "white supremacist" by liberal media personalities and President Joe Biden while on the presidential campaign trail.
"Kyle was almost immediately labeled a 'white supremacist' and a 'domestic terrorist.' To many, my red MAGA hat clearly meant that I was a racist," Sandmann continued in the Daily Mail piece. "Kyle wasn't given his day in court by his critics. And neither was I. The attacks on Kyle came from the national news media, just as they came for me. They came quickly, without hesitation, because Kyle was an easy target that they could paint in the way they wanted to."
In January 2020, CNN settled a multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit filed by Sandmann over the network's misleading coverage of a viral confrontation with a Native American elder that had portrayed the Kentucky teen as the aggressor.
Sandmann was swept up in the 2019 controversy after a video clip depicted the "Make America Great Again" hat-wearing student smiling at Nathan Phillips beating a drum and singing a chant as he was surrounded by Sandmann's peers, who all had joined in on the chant in front of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
However, the media portrayed the incident with Sandmann and the other teens as a racist confrontation before it was discovered by additional footage that a group of Black Hebrew Israelites had provoked the incident. The radical group hurled racial slurs at the high school students who were waiting for a bus following a March For Life event in Washington. Footage showed Phillips, who was in the area for an Indigenous Peoples March, approaching the students amid the rising tensions.
The $275 million CNN defamation suit sought damages for the "emotional distress" Sandmann and his family suffered in the fallout of the network's reporting. The settlement amount was not disclosed to the public.
"This is the problem with liberal media outlets in the United States. They want to get the story first, get the most views, make the most money, and advance the agenda from liberal patrons," Sandmann wrote.
"These outlets cover themselves when they are wrong with small footnotes at the ends of long articles, clarifying that new information has come out and that they have updated their coverage," he added. "News shouldn't be a scoreboard that constantly changes. News is about coverage that includes a statement of facts that does not need to be corrected. But, the liberal media doesn't do this. The liberal media rushes to be the first to report."
Sandmann noted that with Rittenhouse's name "dragged through the mud," many have started to ask the question whether he hould sue for defamation.
"While I am by no means an attorney, I have gained some experience on the ins and outs of defamation and can offer an educated guess on what the outcome would be if Kyle were to sue," Sandmann wrote, explaining how difficult defamation cases are to win. "Should Kyle sue? It first depends on what happens in the trial, as those elements would come into play were he found guilty. However, if Kyle is innocent it would create an easier road to winning."
Sandmann explained that if Rittenhouse is prepared to "take on another burden" with the acceptance that the attempst might not result the desired results, he urged the teen to "give it a shot and hold the media accountable."
One of the saddening parts of the media onslaught is that "it has taken young people like Kyle and myself to expose how corrupt" the media is, Sandman said, stating why he couldn't wait for a verdict before weighing in.
"I cannot hold back on the media's public execution of him before the trial has concluded," Sandmann wrote. "At this time I would like to use my platform to let Kyle know that I am here for you and if you ever would like to reach out to me, I am about the only person our age to have an idea of how the media is treating you. The way the media has treated you is terrible, and you don't have to face it alone."
Sandmann joined Fox News host Sean Hannity for an exclusive interview Friday night, offering advice post-trial to Rittenhouse. Sandmann himself is still suing six outlets based on various defamation or libel-related allegations.
"It's really a personal call," Sandmann said, adding that 2022 will mark three years since the height of the media mudslinging, while six cases remain in progress. "I know he has a lot on his plate, on whether he wants to entrench himself in this."
"It was like a car crash you can't look away from, you are not able to look away. My eyes were glued to the TV watching my character get torn apart," Sandmann said.
Sandmann added that Rittenhouse will face the difficult journey of returning to the individual that he was before the year-long hardships. "Of course, he won't ever be the same person again. It's a struggle," Sandmann concluded.
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