Viral Lawyer Willing to Represent Families of Covington HS Students Pro Bono
One lawyer said Wednesday on Fox & Friends that he's willing to represent the families of some Covington High School students pro bono.
Many online were quick to criticize the students from the Kentucky high school following the viral confrontation involving them and a Native American protester over the weekend.
The students were initially believed to be harassing the protester, Nathan Phillips, following the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C.
Subsequent video footage, however, revealed that the students were accosted and yelled at before Phillips and other Native American activists approached them. Another group -- the so-called Black Hebrew Israelites -- were heard shouting abuse at the students for wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.
Many people called for the students to have their private information revealed on social media, and a freelance journalist even wished death on the students.
Attorney Robert Barnes said that he represents families of students who were libeled, families of some children featured in photos of the encounter and alumni who want to seek legal remedy as well.
"A lot of these journalists that have been saying false statements about these kids ... all you have to prove is that they were negligent in doing so, and by this standpoint, by this point in time, it is clear that anyone who continues to lie and lie about these kids has done so illegally and can be sued for it," he said.
Barnes said that legal fees in libel lawsuits can amount to nearly $1 million in some cases, so he wanted to "equalize the playing field" in the case of some students.
He announced Wednesday that potential defendants are being given a 48-hour notice to retract and correct any false statements about these Covington students.
"If you have said anything false about these kids, they are willing to extend you a 48-hour time period -- a period of grace, consistent with their Christian faith -- for you to, through confessions, get redemption and retract and correct and apologize," Barnes said.
He also explained that plaintiffs are allowed to seek "per se damages" in libel lawsuits, meaning that individual damages do not have to be proven.
"Those damages can range from $50,000 to $300,000 to, in the Gawker case, millions and millions of dollars," he said. "So all these people that have lied and libeled better be checking their bank accounts if they're going to continue to lie and libel of these kids."
Barnes added that he was especially disappointed that New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman has yet to retract her statements made about the confrontation.
— Robert Barnes (@Barnes_Law) January 20, 2019
"Despite knowing from her own newspaper how false those original statements are, she has yet to retract, yet to correct, yet to apologize, and she'll be one of the people sued if she doesn't do it in the next 48 hours."