Posted by on November 23, 2021 7:02 pm
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Charlottesville rally organizers ordered to pay $26 million in damages

Trump’s “make America great again” hats reportedly covered many of the heads marching for white supremacy. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

Charlottesville rally organizers ordered to pay $26 million in damages

Virginia Aabram November 23, 06:21 PMNovember 23, 06:21 PM

A jury decided Tuesday that the white supremacist organizers of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, are liable for $26 million in damages to those affected by the violence at the event.

The jury did not reach a decision on federal conspiracy charges, but the nine plaintiffs will split the millions won in the civil case brought against prominent figures such as Richard Spencer, Jason Kessler, Matthew Heimbach, and Christopher Cantwell.

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“We are thrilled that the jury has delivered a verdict in favor of our plaintiffs, finally giving them the justice they deserve after the horrific weekend of violence and intimidation in August 2017,” said Roberta Kaplan and Karen Dunn, plaintiffs’ attorneys.

“Today’s verdict sends a loud and clear message that facts matter, the law matters, and that the laws of this country will not tolerate the use of violence to deprive racial and religious minorities of the basic right we all share to live as free and equal citizens,” they added.

One charge, that of civil conspiracy under Virginia law, accounted for $11 million in punitive damages, with each defendant liable for $500,000 and organizations for $1 million. The jury did not reach a verdict on two federal conspiracy charges.

Defense attorney Joshua Smith, who represented three of the defendants, said a hung jury was “a win.”

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“It’s a politically charged situation. It’s going to be hard to get 11 people to agree,” he said.

The jury deliberated for over three days after the civil trial lasted four weeks.

The rally turned violent when a man drove a car through the crowd, killing a counterprotester, Heather Heyer, and injuring dozens more. James Fields, who is serving multiple life sentences for plowing into the crowd, was found liable for roughly half the damages.

The plaintiffs were seeking damages for emotional distress and trauma, while the defendants argued they were within their First Amendment rights to hold the rally.

© 2021 Washington Examiner

Originally appeared at Washington Examiner

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