Mississippi professor, who went to Georgetown Prep with Brett Kavanaugh, sues HuffPost

A Mississippi man is suing HuffPost on defamation allegations because of an article the news website published last year accusing the man of helping to supply drugs to fellow students at Georgetown Preparatory School while U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was a student there.

Derrick Evans, a professor and community advocate, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Gulfport, Miss., against HuffPost and the author of the article, Ashley Feinberg, the Mississippi Clarion Ledger reported.

The lawsuit claims Feinberg and HuffPost repeatedly defamed Evans and Douglas Kennedy, a classmate of Evans and Kavanaugh, by stating that they helped purchase and supply cocaine at the elite private school.

The article also stated that the drugs may have resulted in the 1984 death of David Kennedy, who was Douglas Kennedy’s brother and the son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, according to the Clarion Ledger. 

{mosads} The article has since removed any reference to the Kennedy brothers or Evans since it was published in September 2018 in the midst of Kavanaugh’s Senate hearing to be confirmed to the Supreme Court.

“These statements were not only false and defamatory, but outrageously so, and were published by defendants with knowledge of their actual falsity or in reckless disregard of the truth for the apparent purpose of creating a salacious story designed to drive internet traffic to HuffPost’s website,” the lawsuit said, according to USA Today. 

“Defendants had no sources to support their outrageously false and defamatory statements about Derrick Evans and Douglas Kennedy. Nor did Defendants make any effort whatsoever to contact Mr. Evans for comment before accusing him of not only of committing a crime, but of being responsible for the death of David Kennedy,” the lawsuit continued. “Indeed, if Ms. Feinberg or her HuffPost editors had done even the most basic research of publicly available sources, she and they would have known, if they did not already know, that Mr. Evans actively assisted law enforcement in identifying and prosecuting the individuals who actually sold the illegal narcotics.”

The suit is seeking damages against Feinberg and HuffPost, but it does not state a specific amount. It alleges Evans has suffered “emotional distress and harm to his reputation.” 

Teenage use of alcohol was a focus of Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing to become a justice on the Supreme Court.

It also included testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of attempting to sexually assault her at a party during their time in high school.

A HuffPost spokesperson declined to “comment on pending litigation” to The Hill.

—Updated at 4:51 p.m.

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