BREAKING: A jury has found white nationalist leaders liable for $25 million in damages for the violent 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. The jury awarded the money to nine people who suffered physical or emotional injuries. https://t.co/Fo92EX6oK3
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 23, 2021
… After a nearly monthlong civil trial, the jury in U.S. District Court deadlocked on two key claims but found the white nationalists liable on four other claims in the lawsuit filed by nine people who suffered physical or emotional injuries during the two days of demonstrations.
Attorney Roberta Kaplan said the plaintiffs’ lawyers plan to refile the suit so a new jury can decide the two deadlocked claims…
The verdict, though mixed, is a rebuke to the white nationalist movement, particularly for the two dozen individuals and organizations accused in a federal lawsuit of orchestrating violence against African Americans, Jews and others in a meticulously planned conspiracy.
White nationalist leader Richard Spencer vowed to appeal, saying the “entire theory of that verdict is fundamentally flawed.”
He said plaintiffs’ attorneys made it clear before the trial that they wanted to use the case to bankrupt him and other defendants…
Jury finds white supremacists liable for millions of dollars in damages for violent "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville in 2017. https://t.co/o5WbhkRaQf
— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) November 23, 2021
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 a total of $26 million in damages against the 12 individual defendants and five white nationalist organizations on trial. More than half that money is owed by James Fields, who is serving a life sentence for ramming into a crowd of counterprotesters with his car during the rally and killing Heather Heyer.
The 11 jurors needed only to find “a preponderance of the evidence,” rather than the higher bar of “beyond reasonable doubt” in criminal trials. But they deadlocked on two federal claims of a race-based conspiracy, while agreeing that there was a conspiracy under Virginia state law and that the victims were entitled to compensation.
During that rage-filled weekend, a torch-carrying mob chanted “Jews will not replace us!” and a neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer. Nine people who said they suffered physical and emotional harm filed the lawsuit, which is underpinned by a Reconstruction-era statute designed to protect newly emancipated Black people from the Ku Klux Klan…
Significant verdicts in Sines v. Kessler, the case against the organizers of the Charlottesville unite the right rally. A similar strategy in a 1987 case bankrupted the KKK. Multi-million $ punitive damages judgments can have lasting impact.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) November 23, 2021
"Plaintiffs’ attorneys used a trove of evidence, including planners’ messages leaked from the group-chat platform Discord, in their argument that defendants planned, executed and celebrated the violence of that weekend." https://t.co/nvmTXlssvp
— Susan O'Connor (@susanoconn) November 23, 2021
Here's a thread with more: https://t.co/jZU8aVi3ZK
— Duty To Warn ? (@duty2warn) November 23, 2021
.@SusanBro7, mother of Heather Heyer, the activist murdered by a neo-nazi while protesting against hate and the Unite the Right rally, had this to say about today's verdict in Charlottesville: pic.twitter.com/WO8pnNRGW8
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) November 23, 2021