It was a bad day for Nazis and White Nationalists, which means it was a good day for us. A jury in Charlottesville, Virginia, found a group of out and proud Nazis liable in deadly Unite The Right rally. The Washington Post reports that the jury found that white supremacists Richard Spencer, Jason Kessler and Christopher Cantwell, as well as numerous others, "engaged in a conspiracy to intimidate, harass or harm in advance of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017."
Under Virginia law every single defendant is liable under the civil conspiracy charge. And quite a liability it is - a total of $26 MILLION DOLLARS in damages against the 12 defendants and five white nationalist organizations. James Fields owes $12M on his own, although he is rotting away in prison, so it is unlikely his hourly pay for making license plates/mopping/cleaning the bathroom will make a dent in that award.
Now don't get too excited, because this court adventure may not be over for these racists. The jury deadlocked on two federal claims of a race-based conspiracy, so it is possible we will see a second trial.
In this trial, the plaintiff's 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." The defendants were quick to point the finger at each other, blaming "others for the violence and said their hateful language in messages that featured calls for and celebrations of violence were hyperbolic — and constitutionally protected — speech."
During weeks of dramatic testimony, the defendants appeared to not take the proceedings seriously. They used slurs frequently, boasted about being racist and cursed at opposing counsel in open court. Richard Spencer represented himself (and you know what they say - The man who represents himself has a fool for a client) and he reportedly went off on a tirade against the Black Lives Matter in his opening statement. During the trial, defendants even called into far-right podcasts and radio shows to brag about how well they thought the trial was going. Welp, I guess they were wrong.
The lawyer who represented Matthew Heimbach bragged about using the word "kike" in open court because he wanted to “desensitize the jury” to the slur used against Jewish people. The defendants or their counsel also used the n-word repeatedly and called to “gas” or “oven” Jewish people, a reference to some of the methods used to murder Jews during the Holocaust in concentration camps.
After the ruling was read, the plaintiffs’ lawyers Karen Dunn and Roberta Kaplan praised the jury's decision.
Twitter was ecstatic:
Please let this happen:
A bad day for Nazis is a good day for Democracy.