Congress

Covington Catholic lawyer adds Rep. Ilhan Omar to ‘libel,’ ‘get sued’ list

Minnesota Democrat deletes tweet that blamed teens for confrontation with Native American last week

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar deleted a tweet Wednesday morning that blamed Covington Catholic students for the confrontation last weekend with a Native American protester. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ilhan Omar is the latest public figure to catch the attention of the attorney for the Covington Catholic students, Robert Barnes, who is threatening to sue just about anyone who he thinks spread “libel” against his clients.

“This is libel. Retract, or get sued,” Barnes tweeted, quoting a now-deleted tweet from the Minnesota Democrat in which she claimed the teens were at fault for the confrontation Saturday at the Indigenous People’s March in Washington, D.C., between the students from the Northern Kentucky school and Native American Nathan Phillips.

“The boys were protesting a woman’s right to choose & yelled ‘it’s not rape if you enjoy it,’” Omar tweeted Tuesday night, before deleting the tweet Wednesday morning. She also erroneously wrote that the students “were taunting 5 Black men before they surrounded Phillips and led racist chants.”

Omar offered no explanation for her deleted tweet.

A spokesman for the congresswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The boys, some of whom wore President Donald Trump’s trademark “Make America Great Again” baseball caps, have said they sought chaperones’ permission to perform school chants to drown out the noise from a group of black “Hebrew Israelites” who were yelling racial epithets and other vulgarities at them.

Barnes, a trial attorney who represented actor Wesley Snipes in a high-profile tax evasion case in 2008, has offered to represent the Covington Catholic students pro bono.

In addition to Omar, he has threatened to sue New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman as well as other journalists for their reporting of the incident unless they retract and correct their comments in the next 48 hours.

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