Los Angeles-based attorney Robert Barnes has reached out to several of the Covington Catholic High School students targeted by the media over the weekend, and has offered to represent them for free.
What's a brief background?
The incident was caught on video, and naturally, just a portion went viral on the internet. The video snippet in question featured a mob of teenage boys standing around Phillips and appearing to mock and harass the man as he sings a song and beats his drum.
After immense backlash against the young men, their families, their community, and their school, the rest of the story came out.
New videos showed more of the incident, which showed that the students were not harassing Phillips, nor did they approach him as an intimidation tactic.
One of the students at the center of the controversy spoke out on Monday and called the media's slant on the story a complete fabrication, noting that the Native American activist had approached the group — not the other way around.
Still, the damage was done and the teens were still under scrutiny, facing threats of violence and more. On Tuesday, the school announced that classes would be cancelled in order to preserve the safety of students, parents, and teachers.
What are the details?
Barnes — who is also a columnist for Law&Crime, reached out to some of the students' families about representing them in lawsuits against the viral social media video of the incident, which, naturally, didn't tell the entire story.
In a statement to Law&Crime, Barnes said, that "anyone who issued false statements that cast the kids in a false light" and "fail[s] to retract" or correct the stories could face lawsuits.
On Sunday, Barnes tweeted, "I will represent the kids for free if they want to sue @maggieNYT for obvious libel."
I will represent the kids for free if they want to sue @maggieNYT for obvious libel. https://t.co/VmqVqIVNoe
— Robert Barnes (@Barnes_Law) January 20, 2019
Barnes also told PJ media that he was working with the families on possible cases, echoing that "anyone who doesn't correct and retract" the stories would be subject to a lawsuit.
When asked if accused outlets that updated their stories would still be subjected to suits, Barnes told the outlet "it depends."