In the Spotlight
3rd June 2022
Nicholas Sandmann’s bulldog lawyer has just joined the legal team of Kyle Rittenhouse and warned that Facebook (META) CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a “top” target of multiple “solid” lawsuits they are planning.
Attorney Todd McMurtry famously won hundreds of millions of dollars in defamation cases for former Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann.
After joining Rittenhouse’s team, McMurtry says there will be “at least 10” defamation lawsuits against prominent figures and companies for comments against the teenager.
“I’ve been hired to head the effort to determine whom to sue, when to sue, where to sue,” Todd McMurtry, who now represents Rittenhouse, told Fox News during a phone interview Thursday morning.
“We’re going to look at everything that’s been said, determine which of those comments are legally actionable, and proceed from there.”
McMurtry said it’s “pretty much assured that there’s probably 10 to 15 solid” cases against “large defendants.”
Rittenhouse was charged with two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, and other charges after fatally shooting two men and injuring another during the Kenosha riots of 2020.
He was ultimately acquitted of all charges in November of last year after testifying he acted in self-defense.
Though the legal process for potential defamation cases is just beginning, McMurtry singled out Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook for a “factually false” designation on the platform that listed the Kenosha shootings as a “mass murder” incident.
The designation resulted in Rittenhouse’s social media accounts being pulled down and restricting positive comments about the teenager.
“Let’s just use for an example what Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg said about [Rittenhouse],” McMurtry explained.
“They said that he was involved in a mass murder incident.
“This was not a mass murder incident. It was clearly factually false.”
“To call somebody a mass murderer is seriously defamatory.
“And then to use the power of social media to basically … censor any views that would take opposition to that mass murderer statement is a serious effort to destroy his character.
“And it was seriously mistaken and seriously defamatory.”
Outrage erupted after Facebook and Instagram designated the shooting during the Kenoohsa riot a “mass murder incident” before a trial or verdict, with the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board arguing in 2020 that such a designation hurt the teenager’s shot at due process and called the move an “alarming resort to censorship.”
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, ultimately reinstated Rittenhouse’s social media accounts after his acquittal last year and lifted other restrictions.
McMurtry added that Zuckerberg is “certainly going to be at the top of your list” when examining what potentially false statements are legally actionable “because he has an outsized voice.”
“Facebook has an outsized voice, they can do a lot of damage, as compared to somebody maybe who has a small blog with 100 subscribers,” he added.
“But we’re going to look at everything that we have access to and that’s been published, and decide which ones are actionable.”
McMurtry represented Nicholas Sandmann after the media lambasted him over a confrontation at the 2019 March for Life in Washington, D.C., resulting in numerous settlements with media companies such as NBC-Universal, CNN, and the Washington Post.
Speculation has mounted in recent months that Rittenhouse would file similar lawsuits, especially after Sandmann advised last year that though filing such suits is a personal matter, Rittenhouse should sue media outlets he believes defamed his character.
McMurtry said he didn’t want to “necessarily tie the cases together,” but pointed out similarities between Sandmann and Rittenhouse, as both were minors during the incidents and were “falsely wrongfully condemned by the media and social media.”
Rittenhouse said in February that he was launching an initiative to combat news organizations for the “lies” they have published, and explained he had a “list” of people that could face legal action.
“Well, right now, we’re looking at quite a few politicians, celebrities, athletes, Whoopi Goldberg’s on the list,” Rittenhouse said on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” in February.
“She called me a ‘murderer’ after I was acquitted by a jury of my peers.
“She went on to still say that.”
As for proving damages, McMurtry said he knows “for a fact that [Rittenhouse] can prove that his job prospects are permanently diminished.”
“Not to mention what they call perpetual reputational harm, which means that Kyle is never going to have an interaction with anybody where they don’t know who he is.
“And this is going to follow him around for the rest of his life.”
“Everybody’s going to prejudge him in every new interaction that he has with everybody for the rest of his life, and that’s called perpetual reputational harm,” McMurtry said.
“The social media hysteria caused all this because people can’t act reasonably and rationally in certain circumstances.”