Man Claims Huffington Post Defamed Him in Kennedy Article

JACKSON, Miss (CN) — A Mississippi man sued the Huffington Post on Wednesday, claiming it defamed him in an article last fall that named him as a purchaser of the cocaine that led to the 1984 death of David Kennedy, a son of former Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

Gulfport resident Derrick Evans, a graduate of the elite boarding school Georgetown Prep in the 1980s, also sued HuffPost senior reporter Ashley Feinberg, accusing her of fabricating anonymous sources and affidavits to create a salacious story about the school’s wild party culture in the aftermath of the contentious confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“In HuffPost and Feinberg’s zeal to embellish a salacious article about Justice Kavanaugh’s years at Georgetown Prep and to capitalize upon the controversy surrounding his confirmation hearing and thereby drive traffic to its website, they fabricated the false claim that Douglas Kennedy and Derrick Evans ‘helped score’ the illegal narcotics that killed Douglas’s older brother David in April 1984,” Evans says in the federal lawsuit.

He claims the HuffPost published the Sept. 20, 2018 article, “Former Student: Brett Kavanaugh’s Prep School Party Scene Was a Free-For-All,” knowing the statements about him were false.

“Neither Mr. Evans nor Mr. Kennedy had helped purchase, or to use Ms. Feinberg’s word, ‘score,’ any cocaine for David Kennedy,” the 17-page lawsuit states.

David Kennedy, one of 11 children of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, was 28 years old when he was found dead in a Palm Beach hotel room with three drugs in his body, including cocaine, according to contemporary reporting by The New York Times.

His brother, Douglas, a journalist based in New York, was also implicated in the article, but the HuffPost issued a correction the day after its publication, removing his name at the urging of a Fox News officer, where Kennedy has worked as a correspondent since 1996.

Evans claims that neither Feinberg nor any of her HuffPost editors attempted to contact him for comment even after being informed that their original statements about David Kennedy helping to acquire the cocaine were false.

Evans, a teacher with ties to Boston, says Feinberg actually had no source informing her of the allegations, and that no affidavit supporting those claims “obtained by The New York Times” exists.

“Ms. Feinberg fabricated the false story that Mr. Evans helped ‘score’ the cocaine for David Kennedy that resulted in his death,” the complaint states.

The Huffington Post declined to comment. The New York-based online news site declined to issue a written apology and public retraction after a May 3 demand letter by Evans’ attorney, John P. Sneed of the Jackson law firm Wise Carter Child & Caraway.

Feinberg, a senior HuffPost reporter until May this year, is now a senior writer with Slate Magazine.

Evans seeks punitive damages for defamation and emotional distress as a result of the “outrageously false and defamatory statements.”

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