White Supremacy on Trial: Sines v Kessler coverage archive

The best media coverage of the Sines v Kessler Trial, October 25 to November 23.

Most recent stories appear first. Also, a special shout out to @socialistdogmom @ChristopherJM @EmilyGorcenski @TylerHammel @UR_Ninja @esilverman11 @jordangreennc @CourteneyStuart @lisa_provence @Dahlialithwick for such outstanding coverage during the trial.

Payback time: Jury finds Unite the Right organizers liable for $26 million in damages

C-Ville Weekly, November 24 - After nearly three days of deliberations, the jury in Sines v. Kessler found that the white nationalists accused of conspiring to commit racially motivated violence at the Unite the Right rally are liable for $26 million in damages.

Despite the high-dollar award, the plaintiffs were deprived of complete victory after the jury deadlocked on the first two claims in the suit, both of which alleged conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence in violation of a federal law known as the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. The jury did find the defendants liable for conspiracy under Virginia law. More…

The Verdict: Spencer, Kessler, Cantwell and other white supremacists found liable in deadly Unite the Right rally

Washington Post, November 23 - Prominent white supremacists Richard Spencer, Jason Kessler and Christopher Cantwell and others engaged in a conspiracy to intimidate, harass or harm in advance of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, a jury has ruled.

The jury did not reach a verdict on two federal conspiracy charges, but did find that every defendant was liable for civil conspiracy under Virginia law.

The jury then awarded $500,000 in punitive damages against all 12 individual defendants, and $1 million against five white nationalist organizations on that conspiracy count. Other damages followed on further counts. More…

The DTM - Important to note the jury delivered no verdict under the two biggest claims in the case:

  • Claim 1 is 'Did plaintiffs prove defendants engaged in a conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence?' NO VERDICT

  • Claim 2 is 'Did plaintiffs prove defendants had knowledge of the conspiracy and fail to prevent it from taking place?' NO VERDICT

Suing the UTR organizers under the 150-Year-Old Ku Klux Klan Act was a much-touted feature of the lawsuit, but the jury rendering no verdict on these claims does not bode well for its future use.

Attorney Roberta Kaplan said the plaintiffs’ lawyers plan to refile the suit so a new jury can decide the two claims this jury could not reach a verdict on.

What Will Jurors Make of Charlottesville Trial Defendants’ Incoherent Defense?

Emily Gorcenski and Molly Conger for Slate, November 22 - The jury in Sines v. Kessler, the landmark civil lawsuit against the organizers of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, began its second day of deliberations on Monday. After four long weeks in court, the jury is expected to return a verdict before Thanksgiving. Many who listened to the 16 days of testimony and argument expect that defendants will be found liable for forming a conspiracy to commit racial violence. The emotional and traumatizing testimony by both the plaintiffs and the defendants provides only a glimpse into the horrors the plaintiffs experienced in August 2017, when the defendants converged on Charlottesville. But juries can surprise even the most impartial viewer, and last Friday’s acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two people and wounded another during an anti-racist protest last year, shows that justice in the courts is not always the justice expected. More…

Closing arguments in the trial will begin on Thursday, November 18 at 9 am. The plaintiffs' counsel will have 2.5 hours and the defendants, separately, will have 3.5 hours. Then the jury will start deliberations on whether or not the defendants should be held responsible for the violence that occurred at the "Unite the Right" rally. Below, you'll find some of the best reporting on the trial if you'd like to catch up. - the DTM

Sines v. Kessler, day 19: Baby Goats, Jesus and JFK

C-Ville Weekly, November 19 - Baby goats led to slaughter, Jesus, and the conspiracy to kill JFK were among the wild topics covered by Sines v. Kessler defendants in their closing arguments on Thursday. The defendants faced an uphill battle as they followed the plaintiffs’ presentation that laid out in exacting, damning detail the racist and antisemitic tweets, text messages, online posts, and recordings in which defendants discuss and appear to celebrate violence at the August 2017 Unite the Right rally. More…

Rally trial closing arguments wrap, case now in hands of the jury

Daily Progress, November 18 - After more than four years of build-up, the Sines v. Kessler lawsuit is now in the hands of a 12-person jury who will decide whether more than a dozen defendants conspired to come to Charlottesville in 2017 and commit acts of racist violence at the Unite the Right rally and preceding torch march.

If the jury rules in favor of the nine plaintiffs, then the defendants could face compensatory and punitive damages totaling in the millions. Though most of the individual and corporate defendants have little money or collateral, a steep financial verdict could impede future organizing efforts, effectively stopping or limiting their white supremacist causes. More…

Judge Moon summarizes key questions the jury will have to decide

RawStory, November 17 - Speaking to the parties outside of the presence of the jurors, Judge Moon summarized the key questions the jury will have to decide.

"The theory is that the defendants conspired by planning to come to Charlottesville with the idea that Antifa or protesters would be provoked into committing acts of violence, and that would justify the defendants taking retaliation against those persons that caused the violence," Moon told the parties. "I think the jury can infer from all the evidence that… the idea was to provoke violence, but respond in a greater degree than was necessary for self-defense…. I think there's sufficient evidence if the jury believes it that they could arrive at a verdict against the defendants."

Moon suggested the verdict will likely hinge on the jury's determination about the degree to which the violence at Unite the Right, particularly Fields' deadly car attack, was reasonably foreseeable by the defendants.

"The question would be if you anticipate a violent reaction, was Fields' conduct foreseeable?" Moon asked. "There had been talk on the internet about whether someone could drive a car through a crowd of demonstrators…. There's evidence that a number of defendants congratulated Fields. That supports the conclusion that such conduct by Fields could have been anticipated. It may not have been planned by anyone, but it was foreseeable that violent acts would happen." More…

Sines v. Kessler, day 18: The defense rests

C-Ville Weekly, November 18 - The end of the Sines v. Kessler trial is now in sight, as the defense rested its case on Wednesday morning. In the afternoon, the jury received lengthy instructions laying out the requirements to prove the lawsuit’s claim that defendants conspired to commit racially motivated violence at the Unite the Right rally in August 2017. More…

Cantwell attempts last-ditch defense as court begins jury instruction

Daily Progress, November 17 - As Chris Cantwell attempted one last-ditch effort at swaying the jury that he is innocent, plaintiffs’ and defense lawyers — including those representing themselves — squabbled over jury instructions. More…

Two “Unite The Right” Defendants Asked The Judge To Dismiss Their Case. It Backfired Spectacularly.

November 17 - How's the trial going? Well, alt-right leader Richard Spencer and neo-Nazi podcaster Christopher Cantwell moved to have the case dismissed Tuesday, claiming there wasn't any evidence that they conspired to commit violence in Charlottesville at the Unite the Right rally, which forced Judge Moon to point out that, in fact, there was plenty of evidence for the jury to consider, and that they had misunderstood what a conspiracy is.

Then, Spencer and Cantwell, both representing themselves, spent Tuesday afternoon "conducting direct examinations of themselves that often veered into the bizarre." More at BuzzFeed News…

Daily Progress, November 17 - Rally lawsuit defendants Chris Cantwell and Richard Spencer asked for charges against them to be dismissed Tuesday, but the judge refused, forcing the pair to make their best argument that their intentions in in August 2017 were non-violent. More…

C-Ville Weekly, November 17 - In his continuing effort to present himself as a reasonable white nationalist, Spencer also attempted to reframe his viral post-rally rant, in which he uses the word “kikes” and says, “We are going to destroy this fucking town.”

He called the rant “infantile, shameless, and despicable,” and said it was made to a small audience when he was “feeling powerless, feeling extremely frustrated…after it was dawning on me that this thing was a disaster.”

While attorneys for other defendants kept their evidence brief or didn’t present any at all, Cantwell, who’s also representing himself, presented extensive evidence in his own defense. As has been the case on other occasions during the trial, Cantwell seemed to be playing to an audience outside the courtroom.

“Hello Mr. Cantwell, good to see you again,” he said as he took the lectern. The joke was met with silence in the courtroom. More…

In related news: Daily Progress, November 17 - State court upholds Fields’ murder conviction in Charlottesville car attack

Fields’ counsel argued that “community trauma” from the events of Aug. 12 2017 as well as the pre-trial publicity made it difficult to receive a fair trial. During the state trial, the defense sought twice to move the trial — motions that the presiding Charlottesville Circuit judge ultimately dismissed. The Virginia Court of Appeals heard arguments for and against the appeal during a Sept. 13, 2021 hearing. Yesterday, the three-judge panel denied James Fields Jr.’s appeal, upholding a December 2018 murder conviction. More…

Evidence Suggests Charlottesville Rally Organizer Told Supporters to Mislead Police

November 16 - Major news organizations today [ABC News, Newsweek] seized on an AP story highlighting UTR rally organizer Jason Kessler's apparent efforts to mislead police about the size of the rally, according to testimony today.

"If the police ask how many people we have coming don't tell them," Kessler wrote in a Facebook message to another person on July 18, 2017. "If they think we have more than 400 they might be able to help the city pull our permit. Privately we can tout the 800-1,000 number better for our enemies to underestimate us." More…

'Unite the Right' defendants wanted a violent 'battle of Charlottesville' -- and lawyers just showed the receipts to prove it

RawStory, November 16 - As Karen Dunn, a lead counsel for the plaintiffs, briskly walked Kessler through the evidence, he became increasingly combative, by turns defiant and evasive, while also lashing out at his co-defendants.

Kessler's messaging in the chats on the Discord server used to plan the rally, as presented by the plaintiffs during his testimony on Monday, repeatedly promoted the idea that participants should do whatever they could do ensure a confrontation with leftist counter-protesters.

In one message, Kessler urged attendees to refrain from carrying firearms, explaining that he didn't want to scare counter-protesters and that he wanted to increase the odds of adversaries "laying hands on us."

"This is a common tactic that even Martin Luther King used — to put common people out front to be attacked," Kessler protested when Dunn confronted him with the message. Judge Norman K. Moon sustained a motion by Dunn to strike the statement. More…

Sines v. Kessler, day 16: Kessler v. Spencer

C-Ville Weekly, November 16 - Plaintiffs attorney Karen Dunn introduced multiple exhibits in which local Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler promoted Unite the Right as a violent event.

“I think we need to have a Battle of Berkeley event in Charlottesville,” he posted on Discord server, referring to a violent California protest earlier in 2017.

“I would go to the ends of the earth to secure a future for my people,” he said in a May 20, 2017, Discord post. “This is war.”

And this text to Richard Spencer: “We’re raising an army my liege. For free speech and the cracking of skulls if it comes to it.” More…

Kessler takes the stand, struggles to deflect blame for rally violence

Daily Progress, November 16 - Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler sought to blame the violence on absent defendants Elliott Kline and Robert “Azzmador” Ray, saying they "attempted a mutiny to take over the rally." But phone records, Discord messages, and video showed that Kessler was in contact with them constantly in the months leading up to the rally.

Also, despite claiming that he did not lead the UVa torch march, Kessler did admit that he was at the head of the procession along with co-defendant Richard Spencer.

Dunn asked Kessler if he had seen famed religious figure and activist Cornel West. Kessler denied he had, prompting Dunn to play a video shot by Ray.

“We broke through Cornel West, we broke through Cornel West!” Kessler can be heard yelling before Ray references lynching the Black religious figure. More…

Sines v. Kessler, day 15: Sines speaks, defendant dances

C-Ville Weekly, November 13 - Sines and her friend, an Asian American, followed the crowd around the Rotunda and saw the men create a flame-lit circle around the small group of counterprotesters at the Thomas Jefferson statue.

Their shock at what they witnessed is memorialized in a video plaintiffs presented to the jury.

“Holy shit…. Whoa, whoa, whoa…. What do we do?” Sines and her friend can be heard exclaiming. She testified that the white nationalists attacked the counterprotesters without visible provocation.

“They were throwing liquids on them. They threw their torches at them, used their torches to hit them,” said Sines. “One by one, it was like watching cancer cells attacking a healthy cell.”

She also said one of the defendants stood out to her that night, and she pointed to Richard Spencer in the courtroom.

“He came out of this chaos, walked up the stairs and stood on the same viewing platform as us. He began to give a speech,” Sines said. “He said, ‘We have claimed a historic victory,’ like, ‘these are our streets’ or something like that,” she said.

The next morning, Sines and the same friend decided to counterprotest at the Unite the Right rally. They arrived downtown around noon and saw men in white polos and khakis and people open-carrying guns of all sizes.

Sines joined the large, joyful crowd of counterprotesters walking down Water Street toward Fourth Street, and she livestreamed the event as she’d done the night before. She sobbed on the stand as she recalled the moment James Fields plowed his Dodge Challenger into the crowd.

“It’s something I’ll never forget,” said Sines. “It sounded like if you would take a metal baseball bat and slide it across a wooden fence. Thuds. You heard people screaming.” More…

Former white nationalist leader gives damning testimony against Charlottesville defendants

RawStory, November 12 - The plaintiffs showed the jury a June 2017 email exchange between Jeff Schoep, a former commander of the National Socialist Movement, and Jason Kessler, the primary organizer of the rally. In the exchange, Kessler mentioned an invitation to Schoep to join the Charlottesville 2.0 planning server on Discord, and Schoep responded, "I would like to you to see what we bring to the table." He added, "The men are battle tested in the street."

According to the exchange, Kessler replied: "It's truly humbling to think I can play a part to bring the various factions together," adding that people in the white nationalist movement "have been working towards this for 25 years."

In a deposition that Schoep authenticated during his testimony on Friday, the witness stated that far-right groups "often believe there's going to be a civil war and a race war, or a combination of the two" and that during the period leading up to Unite the Right their posture would have been to "harden your resolve and prepare for violence."

The plaintiffs also presented a tweet in which Schoep wrote, "I knocked out an antifa scumbag, laid him out in the street," an apparent reference to the Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12, 2017.

Plaintiffs counsel William Isaacson showed Schoep a video, asking, "That was you decking a counter-protester, right?"

"It's hard to identity someone from the back of their head," Schoep complained.

Isaacson moved the video back to provide a more direct view of the person in the video, and Schoep acknowledged, "That appears to be me here."

But when Isaacson presented the two clips in tandem, Schoep asked, "Now you're splicing video together?"

Finally, Judge Norman K. Moon tired of Schoep's efforts to resist being pinned down.

"Would you stand up and turn your back to the jury?" he instructed Schoep. "I think they can tell whether it's you or not." More…

Rally lawsuit namesake takes the stand, pushes back against defendants

Daily Progress, November 12 - In general, the defendants and their attorneys have been fairly cautious when questioning plaintiffs who suffered physical injuries in the car attack. While that same courtesy has not been extended to those who were present but not physically injured, Sines’ cross-examination Friday stood out as particularly aggressive.

Defendant Chris Cantwell, who has been forced to represent himself due to a lack of an attorney willing to represent him, has repeatedly questioned the plaintiff witnesses about the attire of counter-protesters. That trend continued with Sines, though Cantwell, who was himself photographed sobbing after the UTR rally, got visibly angry as he accused the plaintiff of deleting her video of the car attack in some purported effort to hide other people in the crowd.

“I deleted this video because of how graphic it is and because I didn’t want my family and friends to have to see me sobbing after almost getting hit by the car,” Sines said through tears.

Cantwell also aggressively asked Sines about whether she knew everyone at the Jefferson statue the night of the torch march, naming a long list of counter-protesters alleged to have been present. Cantwell took issue with Sines characterizing the counter-protesters as students, leading the plaintiff to again cite a banner being held that read “UVa students against white supremacy.”

“I saw the Nazis attack the students or the people at the statue,” she affirmed. More…

White supremacist movements expert pressed by defendants during rally trial

The DTM - Peter Simi, an associate professor of sociology at Chapman University, served as an expert witness after completing a report on how white supremacists operate and communicate, for which he was paid $30K by the plaintiffs’ counsel. Based on the analysis, Simi said the Unite the Right rally was “centrally organized” on Discord, pointing to the main moderators of those servers as defendants Jason Kessler, Nathan Damigo, Elliott Kline and Robert Ray. Cross-examination by the defendants appears to have failed spectacularly.

Daily Progress, November 12 - Simi’s testimony started out fairly typical for an expert witness, as he detailed his background studying extremist groups and violence for two decades and walking the jury through a report he co-authored for the plaintiffs.

According to Simi’s testimony, white supremacist movements are based around several core ideas: racist ideology; a central role of violence; front and backstage talk; and plausible deniability. More…

Sines v. Kessler, day 14: White supremacy 101

C-Ville Weekly, November 12 - Pete Simi is a sociology professor at Chapman University who has studied hate crimes, hate groups, and domestic terrorism since 1996. He wrote American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement’s Hidden Spaces of Hate, a book about the culture of the white supremacist movement and the central role violence plays, he said.

White supremacism is an organized effort to transform society, said Simi. It relies upon a common strategy: “the necessity of using violence to achieve the goal of creating a white ethnostate.”

After looking at thousands of texts, videos, and emails, and 575,000 posts on Discord with a colleague, he concluded, “The defendants relied on the core characteristics of the white supremacist movement when they organized Unite the Right.”

He then listed those characteristics: racist ideologies, the glorification and use of violence, the separation of public and private speech, and strategies to create plausible deniability for their actions.

Simi testified that Unite the Right organizers embraced those core qualities, with race as a leading indicator. Whites are seen as superior, while Jews are described as evil, corrupt, and contaminating society, he said. Blacks are seen as “inherently inferior and prone to criminality. That’s very prominent in their view.” More…

Why the Nazis Are Treating Their Trial in Charlottesville Like a Joke

Slate, November 11 - While it's a big dilemma that the white supremacists on trial in Charlottesville have been given a stage and an audience for their "virulent performances of hate," Dahlia Lithwick points out that a cure might have also been discovered. When unpacked by an expert, in this case plaintiffs expert witness Peter Simi, an associate professor of sociology at Chapman University, the performance artistry of the white supremacists, is "neither funny, nor triggering, nor coded, nor clever, nor interesting. It’s just a tawdry little party trick, easily decoded, and depressingly formulaic." More…

Sines v. Kessler, day 13: ‘It was awful’

C-Ville Weekly, November 11 - Early August 12, Wispelwey attended a sunrise service at the historic African American First Baptist Church on West Main Street, then he walked with a group of clergy to what was then called Emancipation Park, where the Unite the Right rally was scheduled to take place.

A group of between 40 and 50 leaders and congregants linked arms outside the park around 8:15am. “It was a practical way of staying connected when there was a lot going on,” he said. And spiritually, “we wanted to communicate that we were there together.”

Unite the Righters had been entering the park from its southwest corner. The Congregate group moved to the steps on the southeast corner of the park, where several neo-Nazis broke through. “I heard yelling and ‘kill the faggot priests,’” said Wispelwey, adding that he was pushed and tripped into the bushes.

“It was a sobering moment,” he recalled. “We were rattled. We wanted to understand what had happened. We could feel the dread.” More…

Defendants attempts to connect reverend to "antifa" during hostile hearing

Daily Progress, November 10 - Though not present on 4th Street during the vehicular attack by defendant James Alex Fields Jr., Wispelwey said he was among the first to arrive at the scene afterward. Describing it as “horrifying,” Wispelwey said he and other members of Congregate helped clear the scene and provide emotional support.

“The folks who were very grievously injured were taken away in ambulances, but there were still people with huge contusions, people in shock just collapsing because it was so hot and they couldn’t find their loved ones,” he said. “There were a lot of people trying to get to the hospital but who couldn’t go in ambulances and so [other Congregate members and allies] were parked nearby and I prayed with people and got them connected to their loved ones.”

Wispelwey was the subject of a lengthy and contentious cross-examination from several of the defendants or their counsel for statements seemingly in support of antifa that he made online following the rallies.

The term “antifa” has been something of an issue over the course of the trial as some defendants tend to use it to describe any counter-protesters despite it being more of an ideological term meant to identify people who oppose fascism. Jurors were questioned about their views of antifa during voir dire and Judge Norman K. Moon has, at times, appeared uncertain about how to best define antifa. More…

White supremacists find a new platform to spread hate: A federal courtroom in Charlottesville

Unfortunately, after two weeks of testimony, and cross-examinations by white supremacists representing themselves, it's become clear that putting white supremacy on trial has also given white supremacists a megaphone and allowed them to weaponize the proceedings.

Washington Post, November 10 - The brazen display of doxing — or publicly uncovering personal information about a private individual — revealed the ways that white supremacists are weaponizing this federal civil trial about the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally weekend into a spiteful stage.

Some of the defendants have been ousted from social media such as Facebook and the dating site OkCupid, but in this courtroom, they’ve found a new platform to amplify their racist views, put on performances they boast about on podcasts, radio shows and in live during-the-trial chats, and to attack their opponents.

“This is kind of unprecedented in terms of real-time doxing that the defendants are able to facilitate in the middle of a court proceeding,” said Oren Segal, the vice president of the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League. “All of them understand that in some ways, the performance that they put on over the next month is going to sort of set themselves up for whether or not they still have whatever following they will have.” More…

Sines v. Kessler, day 12: False flags and missing evidence

C-Ville Weekly, November 10 - Alt-right message board discussions of a false flag attack, racist and antisemitic jokes, and disappearing evidence. Those were among the topics covered in a nearly full day of testimony on Tuesday from one of the men responsible for Nazi-inspired propaganda leading up to the Unite the Right rally in August 2017.

Traditionalist Worker Party co-founder Matthew Parrott took the stand as an adverse witness for the plaintiffs on the 12th day of the Sines v. Kessler trial. The lawsuit alleges Parrott and two dozen other defendants conspired to commit racially motivated violence at the infamous rally.

Parrott, an IT professional and self-described Christian, claimed he and his organization use only nonviolent means to accomplish their white nationalist goals, a claim that was repeatedly challenged by plaintiffs’ attorney Michael Bloch. More…

Neo-Nazi leader put in the hot seat during tense testimony

Daily Progress, November 9 - Traditionalist Worker Party co-founder Matthew Parrott clashed with plaintiffs’ counsel as they attempted to impeach him over inconsistent testimony, emphasizing that he did not hate people who are Jewish but that he “hated the organized Jewish community.”

The Traditionalist Worker Party, or TWP, has been a particular focus of the case so far as the plaintiffs have called upon various communications evidence from the group’s members. Unlike TWP co-founder and fellow defendant Matthew Heimbach, Parrott was more careful when asked about his anti-Semitic views, attempting to offset the neo-Nazi group’s reputation.

When asked if he hated Jewish people, Parrott denied that and claimed he hated “the organized Jewish community.” Similarly, Parrott denied hating Black people and characterized a post in which he compared Black people to dogs as an effort to spread racial tolerance to TWP members. More…

Marissa Blair: “It gave me Nazi vibes”

C-Ville Weekly, November 9 - Marissa Blair narrowly missed getting hit by James Fields’ car when he plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters on August 12, 2017. Her best friend Heather Heyer was killed and her then-fiance suffered trauma that ultimately broke up their marriage. On Monday, she relived all of that in U.S. District Court as a plaintiff in Sines v. Kessler, the lawsuit that contends Unite the Right organizers conspired to commit racial violence.

With her hair in a ponytail and wearing a suit and heels, Blair, now an attorney who just passed the bar last month, took the witness stand.

She said didn’t hear about the August 12, 2017, Unite the Right rally until a couple of weeks before. She saw a poster for the event that had Confederate flags and Third Reich imagery. “It gave me Nazi vibes,” she testified.

“I ultimately decided I was going after the August 11 tiki-torch march,” she said. “It looked very intimidating. I decided to go to stand up for the people of Charlottesville.” More…

Neo-Nazis Are Trying to Hijack the ‘Unite the Right’ Trial and Turn It Into a Horrible Podcast

Vice, November 9 - At least one of the defendants—neo-Nazi shock jock Christopher Cantwell, who is representing himself pro se—has seized on any opportunity to hijack court proceedings and peddle his ideas.

“I consider this a spoken-word performance, and I take this kind of thing seriously, especially once I found out people were going to be able to listen in,” Cantwell said on a podcast last week. “I thought this was a tremendous opportunity both because of the cause at hand, and because I knew the world was listening.”

“I look like a star,” he added. At least one of his co-defendants appears to agree: Charlottesville white nationalist Jason Kessler took to Telegram to applaud the “epicness and boldness” of Cantwell’s opening statement (in which he dropped the N-word and name-checked Mein Kampf), describing it as a “free speech performance.” More…

Defendants continue to defend their actions, distance themselves from Fields

Daily Progress, November 8 - Seated in front of a jury Monday, Marissa Blair said she came to Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017 to join her close friend Heather Heyer.

The two had a bond that few coworkers did, she said, becoming friends who never tired of each other. With pain in her voice Blair said that when she joined a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters that day she never could have expected that Heyer would soon be dead.

“No one expects or would expect for your friend to be killed right in front of you for standing up for what she believes in,” said Blair. “At times I feel guilty because she was about to leave to go to work but we found this crowd and we stayed. You can see in the video, she was standing right in front of me.” More…

Woman recalls ‘complete terror’ of Charlottesville car attack

Associated Press (NPR), November 8 — A woman who was pushed out of the way as a car slammed into counterprotesters at a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville described a scene of “complete terror” as she testified Monday to seeing her fiance bleeding on the sidewalk and later learning a friend was killed.

Marissa Blair took the stand in the third week of a civil trial of a lawsuit that seeks to hold the white national organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally accountable for the violence that erupted. Nine people who were physically injured or emotionally scarred, including Blair, are suing the organizers of the rally, alleging they conspired to commit violence during two days of demonstrations in Charlottesville.

“I was confused. I was scared. I was worried about all the people that were there. It was a complete terror scene. It was blood everywhere. I was terrified,” said Blair, breaking down in tears several times during her testimony. More…

Sines v. Kessler, day 10

C-Ville Weekly, November 6 - “Good morning Dr. Hill,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Alan Levine politely as Hill [Michael Hill, League of the South founder] took the stand. Levine then conducted questioning in which Hill confirmed his hatred of Jews and people of color. Hill, previously a history professor at historically Black Stillman College, founded League of the South in 1994 and resigned from the university in 1998, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and individuals around the country.

Levine presented video of Hill and his LOS deputy Michael Tubbs charging through a line of counterprotesters on Market Street on August 12, and video of LOS members knocking a female counterprotester to the ground and pepper spraying her. Levine also questioned Hill about his role in helping to organize the rally.

“I did speak with Mr. Duke, and I put him in contact with Mr. Kessler and they made the arrangements,” Hill said of David Duke, the infamous white supremacist, longtime KKK leader, and one-time candidate for the U.S. Senate in Louisiana. Duke was present at the Unite the Right rally, and spoke briefly in McIntire Park after the rally was officially canceled.

Hill testified that League of the South had something in common with the other groups coming to Charlottesville for the rally that weekend

“They share the same common enemy,” Hill said.

“Enemies included the Jew, correct,” Levine asked.

“As far as I could tell,” Hill replied.

Levine played audio of Hill gushing about the success of the rally, and presented Hill’s post-UTR tweets, including one in which Hill wrote, “James Fields did nothing wrong.” More…

Richard Spencer Held Parties in ‘Fash Loft’ for White Nationalists, Court Hears

Vice, November 5 - “After that event, you had a party at your place in Alexandria,” said Bloch, while cross-examining Spencer. “Your apartment was referred to as the ‘fash loft’.”

“I'm sure people called it that, sure,” Spencer responded.

“You knew that?” said Bloch, noting that “fash” is shorthand for “fascist.”

“I’ve heard that, sure,” said Spencer.

“A number of your co-defendants attended that party,” said Bloch. “Mr. Cantwell too, right.”

“It would be surprising if he weren’t there,” said Spencer, who was sounding increasingly annoyed by the line of questioning.

“Kline was there. Damigo too. Other members of the alt-right?” Bloch asked.

‘Yes,” Spencer replied.

“And one of the things you discussed at that party was Unite the Right?” Bloch asked.

“There’s no doubt that at a party, we would discuss Unite the Right,” Spencer responded dryly.

Spencer confirmed that the “fash loft” was the venue for “three to five” more parties in the six weeks that followed leading up to Unite the Right.

“Those were private, nobody recorded them?” asked Bloch.

“I don’t know,” Spencer replied. “Well, I hope not.” More...

Emotions flare during contentious rally trial testimony

Daily Progress, November 5 - Defendant Michael Hill, who founded the League of the South in 1994, was the third defendant called as an adverse witness by the plaintiffs. The bulk of Friday’s hearing in Charlottesville’s federal courthouse revolved around his testimony and the League of the South’s involvement in the Unite the Right rally.

In the email, which followed Fields’ 2018 first-degree murder conviction in Charlottesville Circuit Court, Hill wrote that "There is no justice for the white man in these damnable Jew-run courts.” Hill said this was a more general statement about the courts, than a condemnation of Charlottesville's court but did not deny he had sent the email.

Levine followed up by asking Hill to verify a tweet Hill wrote that said "James Fields did nothing wrong,” and another that said he “wouldn't change a thing about Charlottesville 2.0,” a.k.a. the Unite the Right rally. Hill confirmed that he had typed both statements. More…

Spencer squirms as rally plaintiffs push for details

Daily Progress, November 5 - Perhaps the most damning testimony was centered around the UVa torch march, which occurred on Aug. 11 and saw Spencer lead dozens of white men with tiki torches down the UVa lawn to a statue of Thomas Jefferson, surrounding counter-protesters and inciting violence.

At one point Bloch asked Spencer if he led the torch march, which the defendant denied, leading Bloch to present evidence to the contrary.

“I was certainly at the front. I mean, we could quibble about who’s leading, and I don’t want to do that,” Spencer said after he was presented with evidence of him leading the march. “But I remember absolutely seeing [fellow defendant] Jason Kessler there. It was his event, but I was in the lead.”

Nice headline! Much of the hearing went the same way: with Bloch asking a question, followed by an answer from Spencer and then evidence to that partially contradicted Spencer’s answer. More…

Sines v. Kessler, day nine: Quibbling about hate

C-Ville Weekly, November 5 - In 2017, Richard Spencer was the poster boy for the alt-right. More recently, he’s the defendant in Sines v. Kessler who was on the witness stand for over four hours Thursday. Much of his testimony involved quibbling over what he’d said in a 2020 deposition, texts, and other public statements.

This was the ninth day in the lawsuit against the neo-Nazis who led the violent 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, and patience in U.S. District Court started to wear thin.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Michael Bloch, an attorney with lead lawyer Roberta Kaplan’s firm, questioned Spencer, who repeatedly said, “I don’t want to quibble” when his answers in court differed from earlier statements. More...

Defendants fawn over Hitler

C-Ville Weekly, November 4 - Warm praise for Hitler, AWOL defendants, and a white nationalist antisemite cross-examining a holocaust scholar. These disturbing scenes played out on day eight of Sines v. Kessler, the lawsuit accusing more than two dozen white nationalist groups and individuals of conspiring to commit racially motivated violence at the Unite the Right rally in August 2017.

In a repeat of previous days, pro se defendant Christopher “Crying Nazi” Cantwell conducted the lengthiest cross-examination of the day, a friendly, at times even jovial questioning of fellow defendant and Traditionalist Worker Party founder Matthew Heimbach.

“What’s your favorite holocaust joke,” Cantwell asked Heimbach in one of numerous exchanges that was interrupted by an objection from plaintiffs’ attorneys.

“I’ll withdraw the question,” Cantwell responded immediately.

Cantwell and Heimbach also talked about Antifa, and Heimbach told Cantwell about his belief that counterprotesters at Unite the Right would use makeshift weapons. More…

Neo-Nazi told leader of group at deadly 2017 Charlottesville rally: ‘We’re all doing it together’

Washington Post, November 4 - Three months before hundreds of white supremacists descended on Charlottesville in 2017, the founder of a neo-Nazi group suggested the dress code.

“Khakis and a polo,” Matthew Heimbach texted Jason Kessler, the lead organizer of the Unite the Right rally.

That look became one symbol of the deadly violence that engulfed Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017. But ultimately, when Heimbach and his followers arrived, they wore all black. In court this week, an attorney said the purpose of their uniform was to hide blood.

Heimbach was the first of two dozen defendants — some of the country’s most infamous white supremacists and hate groups — to testify during a federal civil trial alleging they engaged in a conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence during the Unite the Right rally weekend. More…

Expert details anti-Semitism as defendant denies Holocaust

Daily Progress, November 3 - Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, a Holocaust scholar, also testified about the use of torches, which she said can be innocuous, but only in certain contexts.

“When used in a rally with the fire, with the marching, that very much reminds one who has studied this of the propaganda techniques of Joseph Goebbels, who was one of Adolf Hitler’s closest associates,” she said. “Every time there was a major event — including on January 30, 1933, the night Hitler became chair — Goebbels would organize one of these marches with fire with the torches. For a historian who studies experience, the connection is absolutely clear.”

Few of the defendants chose to cross-examine Lipstadt, with pro-se defendant Chris Cantwell using his time to ask the anti-Semitism expert about her views on Holocaust jokes.

“I find it hard to imagine that using a genocide which killed 6 million people, irrespective of their religion, their identity or their nationality is a topic for jokes,” she said.

Not even an hour before Lipstadt took the stand, defendants finished cross-examining their fellow co-defendant Matthew Heimbach.

Much of Heimbach’s cross-examination Tuesday came from Cantwell, who asked Heimbach to define his political views and views of Hitler. During this cross, Heimbach admitted that he had previously earnestly said “Adolf Hitler did nothing wrong” and did not believe that Hitler killed six million Jewish people. More…

Could the Charlottesville Trial Kneecap the White Power Movement?

Slate, November 3 - Kathleen Belew, a historian at the University of Chicago who studies the white power movement, looks at this trial and sees echoes of cases that have come before. She says what’s notable about this instance is that the plaintiffs are trying to hold an entire network to account for what happened in the summer of 2017. They are doing that by piecing together chat logs and direct messages, violent memes and carpool requests. Usually, accountability for domestic terrorism has looked like a criminal trial for one or two defendants. This case, though is trying the system. On Wednesday’s episode of What Next, I spoke with Belew about how the civil trial in Charlottesville aims to take down the super structure of white supremacy. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity. More...

Sines v. Kessler Trial: ‘Strike that’

C-Ville Weekly, November 3 - By the start of the seventh day in court Tuesday, three witnesses had taken the stand, and Sines v. Kessler plaintiffs’ attorney Roberta Kaplan worried that at this rate, the four-week trial would go beyond November 19.

Federal Judge Norman Moon also apparently had concerns. “We spent a lot of time with the witness saying the same thing,” he said. “We don’t need to do that eight times.”

Plaintiff Devin Willis testified Monday and spent 90 minutes on direct questioning, said Kaplan, while he was cross-examined for five hours. More...

Neo-Nazi leader defends James Fields during rally trial testimony

Daily Progress, November 3 - As a defendant called by the plaintiffs, Heimbach often was hostile to attorney Karen Dunn’s line of questioning. Over the course of Tuesday, Dunn, a litigator at Paul Weiss firm who is representing the plaintiffs pro bono, presented Heimbach with a series of images and messages from the Discord server used to plan the Unite the Right rally.

Among the most shocking pieces of evidence presented to Heimbach was the social media post he made in November 2016 that related to striking protesters with a car.

Heimbach denied that the post had to do with “anything that happened in Charlottesville in 2017,” but stopped short of describing the actions of James Fields Jr. as an attack. Fields, who is also a defendant in the lawsuit, has been convicted on both a state and federal level for intentionally driving his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, murdering Heather Heyer and injuring dozens. Fields is currently serving 30 life sentences for his crimes.

“I asked you whether this was posted a year before the car attack and you declined to call it a car attack,” Dunn said, following up on Heimbach’s characterization of Fields’ actions. “All I’m asking you is whether you have a problem calling it an attack?”

“I have no opinion on that subject,” Heimbach responded.

He later described the rally and the car attack as “fundamentally separate events,” and said in a 2020 deposition that Fields “acted in self-defense and did not commit a crime.” More…

Holocaust Scholar to Testify at Charlottesville Trial

New York Times, November 2 - Deborah E. Lipstadt, a renowned Holocaust scholar, was not in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 when torch-bearing neo-Nazi marchers chanted “Jews will not replace us” and a young woman was killed in the violence. And yet Dr. Lipstadt is to take the stand in the continuing trial, where she will testify as a historian linking the antisemitism of the past to the politics of the present.

The plaintiffs, who seek unspecified damages, say they want to show Americans how the chants of the marchers are connected to other forms of racism and have gained a renewed foothold in American politics. Dr. Lipstadt declined to comment for this article — attorneys for the plaintiffs barred her from interviews before her testimony — but in a 48-page report she prepared for the trial, she wrote that “this fear of active replacement by the Jew, derived directly from the historical underpinnings of antisemitism, is a central feature of contemporary antisemitism.”

“Two animuses — racism and antisemitism — come together in the concept of a ‘white genocide’ or ‘white replacement’ theory,” Dr. Lipstadt wrote in the report. “According to adherents of this theory, the Jews’ accomplices or lackeys in this effort are an array of people of color, among them Muslims and African Americans.” More…

"I stopped being an outgoing, sociable person," says plaintiff Willis

C-Ville Weekly, November 2 - The second week of the Sines v. Kessler trial opened with a spectacle that will be repeated in coming days: a victim of Unite the Right sharing heart-wrenching testimony, then facing cross examination from two of the white nationalists accused in the lawsuit of conspiring to commit racially motivated violence that weekend in August 2017.

“It was mostly a blur,” UVA graduate Devin Willis testified on Monday, remembering the days following Unite the Right. “I threw myself into overdrive, wasn’t sleeping, busy, trying to find something to do to make sense out of what happened that weekend. It’s such a blur. I entered a bad place.”

Willis is one of nine plaintiffs in the case, and is the second of 31 expected witnesses for the plaintiffs’ side. Now 23 and living in Mexico City, Willis was one of a small group of UVA students surrounded by torch-bearing white nationalists at the Thomas Jefferson statue in front of UVA’s Rotunda on August 11, 2017. The next day, he counterprotested in downtown Charlottesville and arrived at the scene of the car attack on Fourth and Water streets soon after his friend and fellow plaintiff Natalie Romero had been taken to the hospital. More…

Plaintiff describes ongoing trauma as defendants push free speech arguments

Daily Progress, November 1 - Devin Willis, who is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, began the day by finishing up testimony from Friday, describing the physical and mental toll the rallies took on him.

At one point an active part of academics and extracurriculars, Willis said after the rallies he found it difficult to concentrate and relate to his peers, becoming withdrawn. His grades and mental health continued to suffer and in the end Willis said he was “just happy to have graduated on time.”

“I still struggle with a lot of the mental and emotional things, and I still feel like I can’t get back the things that I’ve lost,” he said. “The nightmares subsided until I came back here for this trial.” More…

Sines v. Kessler, day five: "I hear it in my nightmares," says plaintiff Romero

C-Ville Weekly, October 30 - On the fifth day of the Sines v. Kessler trial, plaintiffs’ attorneys brought to the stand two former UVA students. Natalie Romero and Devin Willis are among the nine plaintiffs in the case. They both counterprotested at the Friday night torch rally on UVA Grounds and at the Unite the Right rally the following day in August 2017.

Romero took the stand first. She described the fear of that weekend and the injuries she suffered in the August 12 car attack. Later, after a grueling and emotional three hours of testimony in the morning, Romero also faced cross examination from Christopher Cantwell and Richard Spencer, the two defendants representing themselves, whom she and her fellow plaintiffs accuse of conspiring to commit racially motivated violence that permanently scarred her.

“I just heard loudness. Almost like thunder. Like the earth was growling, essentially,” Romero recalled of the moments before the racist mob arrived at the Thomas Jefferson statue, where she was huddled with a group of about 15 fellow UVA students. More…

Lincoln Project organized a group to carry torches at Youngkin event in Charlottesville

The DTM - When NBC29's Elizabeth Holmes woke up Friday morning, she probably didn't think her coverage of Glenn Youngkin's campaign event at Guadalajara Restaurant on Market Street was going to get much attention, given the media attention the nearby Sines v Kessler trial had been getting all week, but before the end of the day her 10:36 am tweet of 5 people standing listlessly in the rain in front of Youngkin's campaign bus wearing white shirts, khakis, and holding unlit tiki torches, would tie social media discourse into knots and get the most media attention all week. At the end of the day, the stunt would have those on the right and the left cursing the Lincoln Project.


Washington Post, October 29 -- A group of people carrying tiki torches outside Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin’s tour bus in Charlottesville on Friday, which caused a stir on social media and led both political parties to blame the other for the stunt, turned out to be organized by the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican group.

The event — a reference to the 2017 Unite the Right rally, when hundreds of white supremacists descended on the city with tiki torches — was organized by the group, which opposes Youngkin, as a “way of reminding Virginians what happened in Charlottesville four years ago, the Republican Party’s embrace of those values, and Glenn Youngkin’s failure to condemn it,” it said in a statement late Friday, after observers were left pondering for hours who was behind the stunt.

The stunt came during the second day of the trial of the leading figures in the violent Unite the Right rally, which ended with a car plowing through a crowd, killing a woman. A photo of the five people dressed in white button-down shirts, khaki pants, hats and sunglasses quickly started circulating on Twitter on Friday morning, prompting outrage across the political spectrum. More…

Harrowing stories mark first day of rally trial testimony

Daily Progress, October 29 - Emotional testimony and a harrowing story of survival marked the first day of witness testimony as two plaintiffs took the stand during Friday in the Sines v. Kessler trial.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers formally begin calling witnesses, the first of which was Natalie Romero, a UVa student at the time of the rallies and survivor of James Alex Fields’ car attack that killed Heather Heyer. Though Romero survived the attack, she said she continues to feel the effects of her injuries years later.

Romero occasionally choked up as she was forced to relive the traumatic weekend and describe to the jury the injuries she sustained. Romero said she suffered a skull fracture during the attack which left her bleeding on the ground. As she fought to remain conscious — a lesson she said she learned from prior ROTC training — she said all she remembered was darkness and wanting to call her mother.

“I wanted to lay down, but I knew if I laid down I might fall asleep and if I fell asleep I might not wake up,” she said. More…

She feared she would die at the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally. In court, she faced the white supremacists who were there.

Washington Post, October 29 - Natalie Romero looked straight ahead from the witness stand as she fielded questions about the 2017 Unite the Right rally weekend, when a neo-Nazi fractured her skull in a car-ramming attack.

Romero’s questioner was one of the rally headliners, Richard Spencer, a white supremacist who says his race makes him superior to her.

Romero, who is Colombian American, testified that she was in court this Friday because she was tired of hiding. She wanted to tell the truth.

She said she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks and flashbacks. She has an emotional support dog named Luna, who was with her in Charlottesville.

She was the first witness to testify in a federal civil trial where a jury will decide if two dozen white supremacists and hate groups named in a lawsuit engaged in a conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence during the rally four years ago.

Romero told jurors how the skull fracture clouded her memory and forced her to take a medical leave of absence from college. This horrific experience, she said, crushed the confidence she worked so hard to build in herself.

In her nightmares, she can hear the cadence of white supremacists marching at night, their faces illuminated by torchlights and chanting “Blood and soil!” and “You will not replace us!” More…

Trauma of Charlottesville Rally Is Soundtrack to Start of Civil Trial

New York Times, October 28 - As a series of videos depicting a violent rally in Charlottesville, Va., were played in court on Thursday, Elizabeth Sines reached for a tissue to wipe away her tears. Racist chants could be heard in the footage of a torch-lit march, along with the chilling screams after one rallygoer drove his car into a stunned crowd of counterprotesters, killing a woman.

Ms. Sines, who took some of the videos, was among the nine plaintiffs who appeared in court for the first time as opening statements began in the civil case stemming from that far-right rally in August 2017. The plaintiffs, sitting behind their lawyers, faced two rows of defendants — white nationalists and neo-Nazis — and their lawyers across the courtroom. More…

Unite the Right trial opens with competing versions of deadly Charlottesville rally

Washington Post, October 28 - Jurors on Thursday were presented with two competing versions of what unfolded on Aug. 11-12, 2017, when hundreds of white supremacists descended on Charlottesville for a rally that ended with an avowed neo-Nazi plowing his car through a crowd, killing a woman.

In opening statements in the federal civil trial to determine whether the leading figures in the Unite the Right rally conspired to engage in racially motivated violence, the plaintiffs’ attorney said that violence was planned for months, in coded language calling for attacks on Black and Jewish people. More…

Plaintiffs and defendants make their opening arguments

Cville Weekly, October 29 - With a jury finally seated, opening statements began Thursday in Sines v. Kessler, the lawsuit filed by nine locals against organizers of the 2017 Unite the Right rally. 

Plaintiffs’ attorneys laid out their case that the two dozen defendants conspired to commit violence when they came to Charlottesville. The defendants’ attorneys—and two defendants who are representing themselves—contended that the case was an issue of free speech, and no matter how hate-filled their speech is, it’s protected. More…

Plaintiffs' opening statements reflect on pain, while defendants deflect blame

Daily Progress, October 28 - Imagery of violence and suffering punctuated plaintiffs’ opening statements Thursday as defendants in the Sines v. Kessler trial tried to distance themselves from each and redirect blame.

The Sines v. Kessler trial is the culmination of four years of legal efforts on behalf of nine Charlottesville area residents who were harmed by the deadly August 2017 rallies. Filed in October 2017, the lawsuit alleges that 10 groups and 14 individuals conspired to come to Charlottesville on the weekend of Aug. 11 and 12, 2017 and commit racist acts of violence. More…

White Supremacists Have Returned to Charlottesville in Another Attempt to “Unite the Right”

Slate, October 29 - In the first days of jury selection this week in Sines v. Kessler, the civil case filed against the organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, nearly every populist conspiracy theory funneled through conservative social media directly into the right-wing media ecosystem made an appearance. More…

Three Trials in America: The conversations playing out in courtrooms in Kenosha, Charlottesville, and Georgia are revealing.

Slate, October 28 - There are three separate trials unspooling across the country this week, each of which tells some version of the same story about the inadequacies of the American legal system to contend with racial justice. Each illuminates the ways in which even the most basic precepts of the justice system rely on whiteness, and its suspicion of the very existence of racism, as a proxy for neutrality or objectivity. More…

Charlottesville "Unite the Right" civil trial begins, four years after the rally

CBS News, October 27 - More than four years after white supremacists wreaked havoc in Charlottesville, Virginia, victims of the violence are suing the neo-Nazis and white nationalists who organized the protests, claiming in civil court that the organizers of the "Unite the Right" rally planned the violent attacks against counter-protesters, resulting in the death of one protester and the injury of more than a dozen others. The trial kicked off Monday in federal court with jury selection. More…

Jury selection wraps up

Cville Weekly, October 28 - It took two-and-a-half days to find 12 people who said they could be impartial jurors in a lawsuit against many of the country’s most notorious white supremacists. By early afternoon on Wednesday, presiding Judge Norman K. Moon announced a jury had been empaneled in Sines v. KesslerMore…

Jury seated for rally trial after delay

Daily Progress, October 27 - A 12-person jury has been seated in the Sines v. Kessler trial following days of contention and an allegation of an improper dismissal of a juror.

Filed in the wake of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally by nine Charlottesville area residents, the federal lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs were the victims of racist violence during the weekend of Aug. 11-12, 2017. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants engaged in a racist conspiracy that led to them terrorizing and harming residents of Charlottesville, violating the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and various other statutes. If found guilty, the defendants could face steep financial sanctions. More…

Jury selection for rally trial to continue into third day

Daily Progress, October 26 - Jury selection will continue into a third day after tedium and arguments over potentially biased jurors punctuated the second day of trial of the Sines v. Kessler case.

Filed on behalf of nine Charlottesville area residents in October 2017, the lawsuit alleges that 14 people and 10 groups conspired to come to Charlottesville in August 2017 to commit acts of racist violence. More…

Trial kicks off with jury selection

Cville Weekly, October 26 - With heightened security outside the courthouse, the courtroom closed to the public, and media restricted to a live feed of proceedings in a separate room inside the federal court building in downtown Charlottesville, Sines v. Kessler got underway on Monday morning. The lawsuit is aimed at disrupting and bankrupting the hate groups responsible for the August 2017 Unite the Right rally. Difficulty seating a jury in the civil case emerged almost immediately.

“These people are terrorists,” said the first prospective juror questioned in court about his ability to be objective about the defendants, a who’s who of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. More…

Jury selection on track for rally trial

Daily Progress, October 25 - As the tedious process of jury selection ended Monday, a pool of dozens of jurors was whittled down to eight for the Sines v. Kessler trial.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of nine Charlottesville area residents, accuses more than a dozen organizers and participants of the Unite the Right rally. More…

Charlottesville civil trial will explore where free speech becomes conspiracy to commit violence

CNN, October 26 -About 9 p.m. on August 11, 2017, several hundred White supremacists, mostly young men, held tiki torches as they formed a line that snaked across Nameless Field at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Though they came from across the country, they'd organized in online chat rooms. White vans dropped them off. There was a security team, and a list of chants prepared. More.

Major lawsuit against Unite the Right neo-Nazis heads to trial

Cville Weekly, October 20 - Four years after white supremacists invaded Charlottesville for the Unite the Right rally, the biggest civil trial in federal court here starts October 25, and could last up to four weeks. 

The case is Sines v. Kessler. Nonprofit Integrity First for America filed the complaint in October 2017 on behalf of victims of that violent August weekend. IFA’s strategy is simple: Make white nationalists and neo-Nazis pay for what the suit claims was a conspiracy to engage in racially motivated violence. More.