Washington, DC – April 5, 2021 – A federal judge denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment and motion to exclude expert testimony in Sines v. Kessler – the landmark federal lawsuit backed by nonpartisan civil rights nonprofit Integrity First for America against the neo-Nazis, white supremacists and hate groups responsible for the August 2017 violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. A Cooley team led by Alan Levine, David Mills and Bob Cahill are acting on behalf of the plaintiffs alongside Kaplan Hecker & Fink, Boies Schiller Flexner and Woods Rogers.
The plaintiffs are a coalition of Charlottesville community members injured in the violence that ensued during a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. The initial complaint details how the defendants and their co-conspirators planned the violence for months in advance, particularly on social media, where they discussed details down to whether they could hit protesters with cars and claim self-defense.
Most recently, defendants League of the South and its leaders Michael Hill and Michael Tubbs filed a motion for summary judgment on all counts against them in the plaintiffs’ complaint. On March 31, Senior US District Judge Norman K. Moon denied the motion for summary judgment. The League of the South defendants will face trial this October alongside their co-defendants.
In a separate decision, Judge Moon denied a motion filed by a number of defendants to exclude certain expert testimony. Defendants Jason Kessler, Nathan Damigo, Matthew Parrott, Identity Evropa and Traditionalist Workers Party sought to exclude testimony from two of plaintiffs’ proposed experts. In denying the motion to exclude expert testimony, Judge Moon wrote, “The Court finds Plaintiffs’ proposed expert testimony falls well within the types of testimony courts routinely hold admissible; that such proposed testimony will be relevant and helpful to a jury in this case; and that no unfair prejudice will result from its introduction.”
These decisions follow two new orders over the last week granting plaintiffs’ motions for evidentiary sanctions against two other defendants: Vanguard America and Robert “Azzmador” Ray. The plaintiffs have now won adverse inferences against three defendants.
“Defendants responsible for these hateful, bigoted and violent conspiracies perpetrated against Black, Jewish and other communities in Charlottesville will now face a powerful reckoning as the trial moves forward,” Levine said. “We intend to present overwhelming evidence to the jury and the court proving the defendants at Charlottesville, spurred by hate, planned and promoted the violence that tragically took the life of one person and injured dozens of others, including our plaintiffs.”
The jury trial in Sines v. Kessler is scheduled for October 25 in federal court in Charlottesville. The lawsuit seeks to hold accountable two dozen white supremacist leaders and hate groups for their racially motivated violent conspiracy under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 and other federal and state laws.
Integrity First for America is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to holding those accountable who threaten longstanding principles of democracy – including the US’ commitment to civil rights and equal justice.
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