Testimony in Charlottesville Unite the Right civil trial ends

The violence – which surrounded the Unite the Right rally to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee – reached a crescendo as James Fields, protesting the removal of the statue, drove his car through a crowd of counter-protesters who wounded dozens and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Four witnesses testified Wednesday, including two who were recalled to the stand before U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon began explaining the complex instructions to the jury.

Fourteen people and 10 white supremacy and nationalist organizations are mentioned in the trial that led to the trial. The organizers of the demonstration are accused of participating in a conspiracy to commit violence. The plaintiffs, who include city residents and counter-protesters injured in clashes, are seeking “compensatory and statutory” compensation for physical and emotional harm they have suffered.

The jury decides in each individual case whether a defendant is liable for damages. In a civil lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ attorneys only have to show that a defendant is liable because of a “preponderance of evidence,” meaning a 51% or greater chance, Moon juries told.

The nearly three-week-long trial included lawyers for victims of the violence, who put together puzzle pieces for jurors and argued that the defendants acted as an interconnected network to encourage counter-protesters to violent fighting.

“Our plaintiffs have provided overwhelming evidence that Unite the Right was never intended as a peaceful protest – rather, it was a carefully planned weekend of racist, anti-Semitic violence,” Integrity First for America’s CEO Amy Spitalnick said in a statement. “We are incredibly proud to support these brave plaintiffs as they seek much-needed accountability and justice.”

In particular, the defense showed less coherence than the plaintiffs’ side, often shifting the blame for the violence, claiming they disliked each other, taking snipers at each other, and claiming that they barely knew each other.

Witness in the trial of the Unite the Right meeting describes that she was horrified by marchers, badly injured when the car hit her

They have said they did not commit the deadly violence that followed, claiming they exercised their first right to protest. They also say that there was no conspiracy and that the violence was due to the inability of law enforcement to keep the opposing groups separate.

The defense is overseen by two well-known white nationalists who took the stand on Tuesday: the self-proclaimed most-known leader of all-right from 2017, Richard Spencer, and the shock and personality Christopher Cantwell, who both defend themselves.

Spencer testified that not only was he not involved in the planning of the deadly rally, but that he was also concerned about potential violence and wanted to make sure he kept the peace.

“If I were there, it would definitely attract Antifa. This would make the rally something else, and that worried me,” Spencer said, adding that he was more interested in the fame and notoriety of being the most recognizable leader. of alt-right, not the organizer of a violent confrontation that was supposed to be the start of a racial war.

The Charlottesville Civil Trial will investigate where freedom of speech becomes a conspiracy to commit violence

Cantwell gave jurors examples in which he warned others against engaging in violence.

He told listeners of his program, “Radical Agenda,” that they should not bring the level of violence he talks about in his show to Charlottesville. He said his show is for entertainment purposes and asked listeners to leave their weapons at home.

Final arguments are scheduled for Thursday, and the jury is expected to begin discussions on Friday.

The events around the 11th-12th. August 2017 saw white nationalists and supremacists march through the Charlottesville and University of Virginia campuses, shouting, “Jews will not replace us,” “You will not replace us,” and “Blood and land,” a phrase. evokes Nazi philosophy of ethnic identity.
The 2017 rally turned the city into yet another battlefield in America’s cultural wars and highlighted growing polarization. It was also an event that empowered white supremacists and nationalists to demonstrate their beliefs in public instead of just in online chat rooms.
Charlottesville removes two Confederate statues while spectators cheer

Some of the defendants – including Cantwell – have faced criminal charges related to their activities. In 2018, he pleaded guilty to assault and violence in connection with his use of pepper spray during the rally.

Fields is serving two simultaneous life sentences.

The statues of Lee and Confederate Lieutenant General “Stonewall” Jackson were taken down in July 2021.

Mark Morales reported from Charlottesville. Steve Almasy reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Amir Vera and Mallory Simon contributed to this report.

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