The family of the late Rylee J. McCollum claims that Baldwin defamed McCollum’s widow and sisters by claiming that Roice McCollum had been involved in the January 6 “insurrection” outside the U.S. Capitol building.
The family of a U.S. Marine killed in Afghanistan last year has refiled their defamation lawsuit against actor Alec Baldwin.
According to CNN, the widow of Rylee J. McCollum, Jiennah McCollum—as well as Rylee’s two sisters, Roice McCollum and Cheyenne McCollum—are seeking an estimated $25 million in damages. In their complaint, they accuse Baldwin of making false allegations against the family.
As LegalReader.com has reported before, Baldwin had earlier donated money to the McCollum family after learning of Rylee’s death in Afghanistan.
However, Baldwin became enraged after learning that Roice McCollum had participated in the January 6 protests outside of the United States Capitol building.
Baldwin purportedly sent a series of incensed messages to McCollum before posting screenshots of their exchange to his social media accounts. In at least one post, Baldwin called Roice McCollum an “insurrectionist” who had betrayed her brother’s sacrifice.
The lawsuit asserts that, while Roice McCollum was present outside the Capitol, she did not participate in the riots.
“While she was present at the [January 6] demonstration, Roice did not take part in, nor did she support or condone the rioting that erupted,” the lawsuit states. “Baldwin plainly ignored Roice’s denial of rioting and the assertion that she was cleared by the FBI for participating in any of the conduct Baldwin chose to falsely attribute to her via his massive following.”
The McCollum family had earlier attempted a similar lawsuit against Baldwin in January. However, the complaint was dismissed by a Wyoming-based federal judge who found that the court did not have jurisdiction over the claim.
Baldwin’s attorneys had, at the time, celebrated the dismissal, saying that the McCollum family had sought to “punish Mr. Baldwin for expressing his political opinion.”
However, the re-filed defamation lawsuit includes additional charges, and demands damages for the purported “severe” infliction of “emotional distress.”
Luke Nikas, an attorney for the actor, said he expects the court will again rule in his client’s favor.
“Mr. Baldwin donated several thousand dollars to Ms. McCollum to honor her husband, and now she’s suing him for more because she disagrees with his political opinion about the insurrection that occurred on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol Building. We expect to prevail in this lawsuit, as we did the last time they filed it,” Nikas told CNN Wednesday.
Rylee McCollum, notes CNN, was one of 13 U.S. servicepeople who were killed in an attack outside of the Kabul airport last August.