Jury Finds 'Unite the Right' Rally Organizers Liable on Four Counts of Violence

© AP Photo / Steve HelberWhite nationalist demonstrators walk through town after their rally was declared illegal near Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va.
White nationalist demonstrators walk through town after their rally was declared illegal near Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.11.2021
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Nine people filed a lawsuit against Jason Kessler and other organizers of the deadly 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, back in August 2017, arguing that they suffered physical and emotional harm from the demonstration, which resulted in the death of 32-year-old counterprotester and local resident Heather Heyer.
A federal jury in Charlottesville has found defendants in the 'Unite the Right' rally lawsuit liable for four out of the six claims brought against them, including civil conspiracy; racial, religious or ethnic harassment; and infliction of emotional distress.
After violating Virginia state conspiracy laws the individual defendants - including Jason Kessler, Richard Spencer, and Christopher Cantwell - are liable for $500,000 each, while the five organizations named in the lawsuit are liable for $1 million each.
Defendants include Jason Kessler, Richard Spencer, Christopher Cantwell, James Alex Fields, Jr., Robert "Azzmador" Ray, Nathan Damigo, Elliott Line, Matthew Heimbach, Matthew Parrott, Michael Hill, Michael Tubbs, Jeff Schoep, the League of the South, Vanguard America, the Nationalist Socialist Movement, Identity Evropa, and the Traditionalist Worker Party.
© AP Photo / Alex BrandonWhite nationalist Jason Kessler speaks at a rally near the White House on the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally in Washington. A trial is beginning in Charlottesville, Virginia to determine whether white nationalists who planned the so-called “Unite the Right” rally will be held civilly responsible for the violence that erupted.
White nationalist Jason Kessler speaks at a rally near the White House on the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in Washington. A trial is beginning in Charlottesville, Virginia to determine whether white nationalists who planned the so-called “Unite the Right” rally will be held civilly responsible for the violence that erupted. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.11.2021
White nationalist Jason Kessler speaks at a rally near the White House on the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally in Washington. A trial is beginning in Charlottesville, Virginia to determine whether white nationalists who planned the so-called “Unite the Right” rally will be held civilly responsible for the violence that erupted.
The civil suit alleged that the defendants conspired to commit violence by organizing their 'Unite the Right' rally in rural central Virginia.
During the trial, attorneys presented several forms of evidence, including dozens of text messages, chat room archives and social media postings authored by some of the defendants. Posts included a variety of racial epithets and plans to attack counter-protesters during the weekend event.
Kessler, Spencer, Kline, Ray and Cantwell are also liable for $200,000 each in punitive damages related to their violation of Virginia state laws against racial, religious or ethnic harassment or violence.
Additionally, the court awarded $500,000 to two plaintiffs: Natalie Romero and Devin Willis.
© AP Photo / Chris O'MearaWhite Nationalist Richard Spencer Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla.
White Nationalist Richard Spencer Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.11.2021
White Nationalist Richard Spencer Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla.
James Alex Fields, Jr., the man who drove his car through a group of counter-protesters and ultimately killed Heather Heyer, was found liable for assault and battery against several of the plaintiffs, as well as intentionally inflicting emotional distress against at least six plaintiffs.
The court subsequently issued a cumulative award of $12 million to the victims.
Fields is presently serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to 29 hate crime charges related to his fatal car attack at Charlottesville's Downtown Mall on August 12, 2017.
James Alex Fields Jr., (L) is seen attending the Unite the Right rally in Emancipation Park before being arrested by police and charged with charged with one count of second degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of failing to stop at an accident that resulted in a death after police say he drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters later in the afternoon in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.06.2019
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While the jury determined that the defendants had violated Virginia state conspiracy laws, it was unable to reach a verdict regarding two additional claims.
One claim pertained to whether the defendants conspired to commit racially-motivated violence and the other related to whether the defendants possessed knowledge of a conspiracy for racially-motivated violence and failed to intervene.
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