2021 11 18
Charlottesville, VA – After four weeks of testimony, the trial in the federal lawsuit against organizers of the deadly Unite The Right rally is set to go to a jury after closing arguments on Thursday, November 18. 13 individuals and 9 organizations are named in the ‘Sines v. Kessler’ case brought by 10 survivors of a car attack and other racist violence during the weekend of August 12, 2017. The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys with the civil rights nonprofit Integrity First for America.
Neo-nazi leaders and groups behind the Charlottesville rally stand accused of violating the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act by conspiring to commit civil rights violations. Counts added under the conspiracy charge include negligence, ‘racial, religious or ethnic harassment’, assault and battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Jurors will soon decide whether “a preponderance of the evidence” proves defendants were “motivated by animus” against black and Jewish people “or their supporters”, in the words of Judge Norman K. Moon.
Survivors of the car attack and other violence in Charlottesville told the jury about how they have dealt with life-changing impacts such as a shattered hip or a fractured skull, torn ligaments, permanent brain damage and traumatic flashbacks and nightmares. A doctor and rehabilitation specialist testified about expenses needed for life long recovery and treatment – the damages at the heart of the claims against the neo-nazi rally organizers. (Jurors will decide which defendants are liable and what damages they will owe to whom.)
Professor Deborah Lipstadt, an expert in the Holocaust and Holocaust denial, testified that she was “taken aback” by the intensity of hardcore antisemitic themes in communications from Unite The Right. Another expert witness to testify was Professor Peter Simi, a sociologist who studies white power groups. Simi explained white supremacist movements use humor and memes to both cultivate a culture of brutality and maintain “plausible deniability” while encouraging violence like what happened in Charlottesville.
The civil conspiracy charges in this case are very broad – two or more people agreeing even indirectly to unlawfully deprive others of their civil rights – but it would seem that the jury has all the evidence they need to find all the defendants liable, if they choose. In jury selection, the defendants were keen to raise the specter of violent ‘antifa’ as a justification for their acts, a theme they’ve continued to play up throughout the trial.
All of the defendants have been shown to have promoted and plan to the rally, and defendant groups committed official funds to things like rental vans or buying riot shields. All of the organizations on trial discussed violence at the Unite The Right rally in their official communications, such as members-only Discord chats, email lists and newsletters.
All of the defendants celebrated the street violence in Charlottesville in one way or another, something that could be seen as “ratifying” the conspiracy to commit violence with racial animus, after the fact in some instances. Many also applauded the murder of Heather Heyer by James Alex Fields.
While the alt-right defendants leaned hard on a First Amendment free speech defense and invoked claims of self-defense against ‘antifa’, reams of evidence displayed at trial shows that they eagerly anticipated violence ahead of time and encouraged their followers to carry out assaults. Some of the neo-nazi groups’ leaders explicitly encouraged violence at the rally in their official capacity as leaders of their organizations.
A recurring theme over the nearly four weeks of the trial was infighting among defendants, who would accuse each other of attempting to take over organizations. This largely benefited the plaintiffs and shed little light on reasons that defendants should be acquitted by the jury.
Evidence shown to the jury largely consisted of Discord chats, texts, emails, tweets, Facebook messages and phone records between the defendants who planned the rally together.
Evidence against the Defendants Piles Up in Court
Below is a summary of some of the evidence against the defendants at trial. [This article only discusses parties who are fighting the lawsuit at trial. Other defendants like Robert ‘Azzmador’ Ray have not been responding to the case in court, leading the court to find “adverse inferences” against them, making it highly likely a jury would find them liable.
Named defendants who have ignored the case or stopped cooperating in court include Andrew Anglin and Robert ‘Azzmador’ Ray of the neo-nazi site Daily Stormer, Moonbase Holdings, LLC (a Daily Stormer financial entity), Augustus Sol Invictus, the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, two Ku Klux Klan groups, and rally organizer and former Identity Evropa leader Eliott Kline aka Eli Mosley.]
Richard Spencer, public figurehead of the alt-right at its height in 2017, claimed in his opening statement that he had “no role whatsoever in the logistical planning of the rally or any type of conspiracy.”
When pressed by plaintiffs’ attorney Michael Bloch and shown various text messages and emails, Spencer admitted that while he denied being an organizer for Unite The Right, he had sent various lackeys such as Greg Conte, Evan McLaren or Allison ‘Jack’ Pierce aka ‘Ajax’ to attend planning meetings and report back to him.
Bloch also used Spencer’s testimony to show the jurors text messages and emails showing Spencer’s planning discussions with Jason Kessler in the months before Unite The Right.
Spencer’s phone records also show that he texted with Unite The Right organizer Eliott Kline (aka Eli Mosley) “nearly every day” in the lead-up to the Charlottesville rally. Spencer often directed Kline to take actions on his behalf, such as setting up a Discord chat server to be used by alt-right leaders. Spencer also exchanged 88 text messages with co-defendant Christopher Cantwell between July and August 2017.
Spencer also denied leading the infamous Friday night torch march on UVA campus on August 11 when asked in court. Then jurors saw a clip from a Periscope stream Spencer broadcast that same night, in which he bragged about being “at the lead” of the march. Tweets and posts by Spencer showed jurors how he celebrated attacks on counter-protesters during the torch march; Spencer tried to reframe his statements in broad political terms divorced from the street violence.
Spencer was asked about specific racist and antisemitic view he has espoused on podcasts – he would often try to deny specific statements only for plaintiffs’ attorney Michael Bloch to play audio and video clips where he said the quoted bigoted remarks.He was also asked at length about a manifesto he released the day before Unite The Right that called for the alt-right to “dominate the streets.”
Phone records obtained via discovery also showed that Spencer was in a chat group with other head Unite The Right organizers including Augustus Invictus, Nathan Damigo, Chris Cantwell, Michael Hill, and Jason Kessler.
Kessler began planning the Unite The Right rally in May 2017. Private chats acquired during discovery showed that he proposed it to other alt-right organizers as “the battle of Charlottesville” and said he wanted to bring neo-nazi groups to town to “fight this shit out.”
In private Discord messages not seen publicly before trial, Kessler exalted the alt-right as “a dangerous movement” that “feeds on… unchecked racism” but should be publicly masked as a “civil rights movement.”
When reaching out to far-right street fighters such as Kyle Chapman (aka ‘Based Stickman’) in secret Facebook chats in early 2017, Kessler’s violent intent for Unite The Right was clear. “Communists deserve to get culled,” Kessler wrote in one message, “there is no getting along.” In a text to Richard Spencer, whom he called “my liege,” Kessler said he was “raising an army.”
Jurors were also shown some of Kessler’s messages in the Discord chat he made to plan Unite The Right, contents of which were first leaked by Unicorn Riot in 2017. Kessler called the rally “a chance to crack some Antifa skulls“ and told attendees to “bring picket signs that can be used as sticks to bludgeon our enemies.”
Kessler also asked people bringing guns to Charlottesville to “conceal carry… I don’t want to scare antifa off from throwing the first punch.” Kessler and other white supremacist organizers hoped to “play these people into our hands” by inviting confrontations to justify an overwhelming response.
Kessler told his co-organizers to mislead police and city officials about how many people he expected “because it’s better for our enemies to underestimate us.” Kessler privately discussed expectations for 800-1000 people at Unite The Right but listed 400 on the permit.
When asked on the stand about various logistical decisions about the torch march and Unite The Right rally, Kessler was eager to throw Eliott Kline (aka Eli Mosley) under the bus by saying he was responsible. Kessler also seemed happy to implicate Richard Spencer, who Kessler said Kline was reporting to throughout 2017.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs also told the jury how Kessler has called and written James Fields in jail to show his support, sent Fields money, and asked to be put on his visitors list. A tweet was also shown where Kessler celebrated Fields’ deadly car attack as “payback” and said Heather Heyer deserved to die because she was a “communist.”
Traditionalist Worker Party – Matt Heimbach and Matt Parrott
Matt Heimbach led the neo-nazi Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) until it dissolved in 2018 and is one of the defendants in this case to be sanctioned by the court for destroying or failing to produce evidence.
Texts between Heimbach and Jason Kessler show they began planning the rally together as early as May 2017. Heimbach also had regular communications with Eliott Kline (aka Eli Mosley), who he described as “in many ways the chief organizer.” Heimbach has always been open about his violent racist and antisemitic beliefs; he’s called for the “extermination” of Jews.
Communications by Heimbach shown in court included various Discord messages where he encouraged TWP members to attend Unite The Right and discussed bringing shields to outfit TWP members at the event.
According to private direct messages Heimbach sent, the TWP used its official fund to buy used riot police shields to bring to Unite The Right. Evidence displayed in court during Heimbach’s testimony showed that shortly after the Unite The Right rally, a TWP member used his official TWP shield as a weapon during the brutal group beating of DeAndre Harris in a parking garage.
Heimbach told plaintiffs’ attorney Karen Dunn that he had invited violent skinhead groups such as the Hammerskins and the Blood and Honour Social Club to Charlottesville at Kessler’s request. Heimbach tried to reframe reaching out to the violent skinheads as a “deterrent” to antifascists instead of an outright plan for street fights.
Jurors were shown video of Heimbach leading a column from the Nationalist Front up Market Street to charge into and brutally attack counter-protesters. (The Nationalist Front was a coalition of white supremacist and neo-nazi groups including the Traditionalist Worker Party, the League of the South and the National Socialist Movement.)
Heimbach claimed he wasn’t able to order anyone in the group he was leading to stop assaulting anyone and that he wasn’t their “babysitter.” Videos shown in court made it clear that he was issuing orders to the group as the assaults began, giving commands such as “shields up.”
Heimbach testified that the Nationalist Front group he led had marched up Market Street into counter-protesters because they were told by the police to take that route. He claimed to know this from conversations Ike Baker of the League of the South had with police. Other testimony, including Ike Baker’s deposition, proved this claim was false. (Baker claimed to have told police the Nationalist Front planned to march up Market Street, but said no agreement or acknowledgment of that plan was communicated to him by the cops.)
The court was shown an admiring letter that Heimbach wrote to James Fields in prison after the car attack in which Heimbach called Fields “a good man” and “a martyr for our folk.” Heimbach was also shown a post where he applauded the killing of Heather Heyer, but said he didn’t remember writing it.
TWP co-leader Matthew Parrott described himself as a longtime friend and “under-boss” to Heimbach. He ran the TWP’s website, email server, Discord chat, and other online infrastructure.
Parrott admitted that while on paper the TWP forbade racial slurs and violent behavior, those rules were not often enforced. Plaintiff’s attorneys implied that many of TWP rules and policies were created solely as legal cover, a claim Parrott disputed but could not disprove. Parrott also admitted that he chose TWP member Cesar Ortiz, a military veteran, to be put in charge of TWP’s “operations” in Charlottesville because Ortiz “understood and spoke in the language of legal concerns.”
The jury was shown online writings where Parrott bragged that TWP “beat the living shit out of our enemies” in Charlottesville.
Parrott deleted the TWP’s digital infrastructure in 2018, including materials he’d been ordered to preserve for discovery in the lawsuit. He claimed that he only deleted TWP’s servers and accounts in response to a domestic incident where he discovered Matt Heimbach had been sleeping with his wife at the time, Jessica Parrott (also a TWP member).
League of the South – Michael Hill and Michael Tubbs
Michael Hill, leader of the neo-confederate, pro-nazi League of the South, marched next to Heimbach on Market Street the morning of Unite The Right to lead violent attacks on counter-protesters occupying the road.
Hill denied in court that he used his cane to attack anyone as he led the column marching into crowds of protesters on the morning of Unite The Right; the jury was shown photos that clearly depicted Hill using his cane a weapon. The group Hill was leading included many League of the South members with clubs and shields bearing the League’s distinctive logo, a black X on a white backdrop.
Hill denied in court that he brought League of the South members with shields and clubs to Charlottesville with the intent of sparking a public confrontation. Plaintiffs’ attorney Alan Levine showed the court that Hill had in fact emailed League members before Unite The Right saying he planned to “bait…Antifa, BLM etc into opposition.” After the event, Hill boasted that “we wanted a public confrontation in Charlottesville for the world to see and we got it.”
While Hill told jurors that his group was merely trying to walk to the park, one of several tweets made by Hill displayed to the jury showed that he bragged about “leading the column that smashed through the leftist barricade.”
Numerous emails and posts Hill wrote after Unite The Right show he specifically praised Florida League of the South leader Michael Tubbs as a “warrior.” Other emails also show that he was pleased that televised violence by uniformed League “soldiers” was helpful in recruiting new dues-paying members.
Tubbs also led the Nationalist Front column with clubs and shields up Market Street along with Heimbach and Hill. Once their group came into contact with counter-protesters, Hill led the assault by hitting and shoving many people himself while yelling “charge” to those following behind him. Hill had designated Tubbs to be “in command of operations” for the League of the South in Charlottesville, according to internal emails revealed at trial.
After the group he led violently pushed through crowds of anti-racists, Tubbs is seen in many other videos leading Unite The Right attendees as they repeatedly left the rally site at the park to violently attack counter-protesters before retreating back into the park.
The court saw more videos of Tubbs taking part in violent assaults and appearing to direct other rallygoers in street fights. Tubbs claimed that every incident shown to the jury, including one where he bodyslammed someone to the ground who was then violently beaten by a small crowd, was actually him acting in self-defense.
Tubbs was also present at the brutal beating of DeAndre Harris in the Market Street parking garage shortly after the August 12 rally. The court saw video and pictures placing Tubbs at the site of the beating and learned Tyler Davis, a member of Tubbs’ Florida LoS chapter, was one of those convicted in the beating. In messages sent after Davis’ arrest, Tubbs told League members to purge any records of contact with him, leading to evidence in this lawsuit being destroyed.
Tubbs did not deny his racist and antisemitic views in court but tried to couch them in “pro-white” terminology; jurors were shown several racist tweets by Tubbs, including one praising the enslavement of Black people.
Emails sent from Tubbs show that before Charlottesville he privately “hoped” there would be violence at the Unite The Right; in another email he wrote “I pray I don’t miss any good violence.” The jury saw numerous posts where Tubbs celebrated James Fields’ car attack – Tubbs agreed that he posted “Fields did nothing wrong” “at least six times.”
Identity Evropa – Nathan Damigo
Founder and former leader of the PR-savvy alt-right group Identity Evropa (IE), Nathan Damigo was the main organizer of the ‘Charlottesville 1.0’ rally in May 2017 that became the inspiration for Unite The Right (which he also helped plan). In August 2017, Damigo stepped back as IE’s leader and placed Eliott Kline aka Eli Mosley, one of the primary organizers of Unite The Right, in charge of the group.
Damigo ultimately confirmed that Kline/Mosley was on Identity Evropa’s payroll while organizing Unite The Right. Texts between Damigo and Richard Spencer also established that Damigo arranged to have Spencer ‘hire’ Kline at the same time Kline was working to organize Unite The Right.
Damigo’s testimony also confirmed that Identity Evropa “donated” at least $600 towards renting the white 15-passenger vans used to shuttle attendees around town during Unite The Right.
Damigo unsuccessfully tried to declare bankruptcy in his home state of California in an apparent attempt to reduce his financial losses from the lawsuit.
Identity Evropa – Eliott Kline aka Eli Mosley
Eliott Kline, Jason Kessler’s main co-organizer for Unite the Right, was also a leader of the neo-nazi alt-right group Identity Evropa for part of 2017. Kline used the alias Eli Mosley, a combination of his own name with that of World War II era British fascist Oswald Mosley.
In recorded depositions played in court, Kline admitted that he had referred to himself as a “Jew hunter” and often spoke of wanting to kill Jews. Kline claimed that those statements various messages he sent bragging about attacking anti-racist protesters at various 2017 events were “just jokes.”
Kline admitted under oath to coordinating for Unite The Right event with members of Vanguard America, the Traditionalist Worker Party, the League of the South, and the Rise Above Movement.
His deposition also covered organizing discussions he had regarding Charlottesville with people like Jason Kessler, Michael Chesny aka ‘Tyrone’, Brian Brathovd aka ‘Caerulus Rex’, Paul Walsh aka ’McCarthy, Allison ‘Jack’ Pierce aka ‘Ajax’, and Michael Tubbs.
Kline confirmed that during the time in 2017 when he was organizing Unite The Right, he was being paid by Identity Evropa and was also on Richard Spencer’s payroll. During Unite The Right, he stayed at an AirBnB rented by Identity Evropa.
Kline also told the attorney deposing him that he left Identity Evropa and stepped down as IE’s CEO in November 2017 when Nathan Damigo asked him to leave. Kline testified that Damigo “wanted to give Patrick Casey the CEO title.”
Kline was jailed for contempt of court before cooperating in the case and being deposed, but later stopped participating in the litigation entirely, failing to defend himself at trial. Due to his no longer cooperating with the court, Judge Moon told jurors he sanctioned Kline by establishing as a fact that he “entered into an agreement with one or more co-conspirators to engage in racially motivated violence in Charlottesville” and did so while he was a leader of Identity Evropa.
National Socialist Movement – Jeff Schoep
Jeff Schoep, former leader of the neo-nazi National Socialist Movement, claims to have renounced his racist beliefs, but when testifying generally made the same arguments as his co-defendants, claiming that he only acted violently in self-defense. Schoep had failed to produce evidence as required for this case until the court ordered him to comply.
Numerous statements by Schoep and the NSM read to the jury showed that he and his group applauded violence in Charlottesville and cheered the death of Heather Heyer.
Schoep was part of the Nationalist Front column led by Heimbach, Hills and Tubbs up Market Street that morning; video played in court showed Schoep punching a protester as he walked in that group.
Judge Moon told the jury that Schoep’s claims to no longer be a neo-nazi are not a defense against the charges he faces, but could be considered when weighing punitive damages against him.
Christopher ‘The Crying Nazi’ Cantwell
Cantwell’s opening argument assured the jury that he was primarily an entertainer, but also admitted on the stand that he had once considered carrying out a mass shooting. Numerous clips from Cantwell’s podcast Radical Agenda demonstrated how he openly uses his show as a platform to encourage listeners to commit violence.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Michael Bloch pointed out that Cantwell’s disclaimer about his show being “fictional” was only added in July 2017.
Jurors were played and shown an extensive litany of violent racist and antisemitic statements he made about violence both in general and in regards to Charlottesville specifically. In addition to his openly violent statements in the VICE Charlottesville documentary (“we’ll fucking kill these people if we have to”), Bloch showed the jury a text Cantwell sent a reporter where he bragged about “organiz[ing] an unknown number of armed extremists I’ve never met.”
Private Discord messages sent by Cantwell show that he brought extra mini-batons and pepper spray canisters to Charlottesville and had proposed selling them to other alt-right rallygoers as part of a vendor table at the event.
Numerous statements by Cantwell, public and private, justified and celebrated James Fields’ deadly car attack. One post by Cantwell, quoted by Michael Bloch in his last question during Cantwell’s testimony, bragged about the “bleeding commie filth we sent to the morgue.” Bloch made a point of repeating Cantwell’s use of “we” and had Cantwell confirm that he was referring to the killing of Heather Heyer when he used “we” in the sentence – using Cantwell’s own words to illustrate the group effort involved.
Vanguard America – Dillon Hopper and Thomas Rousseau
Video depositions of Dillon Hopper were also played for the jury. A former Marine Corps recruiter, he was the leader of the now-defunct neo-nazi group Vanguard America at the time of Unite The Right.
Around this time, another Vanguard America member named Thomas Rousseau had effectively stolen control of the group from Hopper via an internal coup. (Rousseau would later take most of Vanguard America’s members and form a new group called Patriot Front.)
Hopper was eager to blame Rousseau in his deposition while claiming to forget the names of anyone else who was involved. He testified that Vanguard members were encouraged to be anonymous and the group primarily was organized over Discord chat servers.
Asked about Vanguard America’s official shields with their logo being prepared for Charlottesville, Hopper said that he “approved” the use of shields at the event. He claimed to have not been present at Unite The Right but said he was keeping up with events as they transpired, actively messaging Vanguard America members on Discord before, during and after the event.
Hopper claimed that he told Thomas Rousseau that Rousseau had “messed up” by letting James Alex Fields march with the Vanguard formation during Unite The Right. According to Hopper, Rousseau said Fields and other-non members were allowed to join in order to make Vanguard America appear larger in number. Hopper also testified that as a general practice, non-members were allowed to come to Vanguard America events and that basically anyone who wanted to was able to associate themselves with the group.
Discord chats shown during Hopper’s deposition made it clear that he repeatedly celebrated Fields’ car attack that killed Heather Heyer. Hopper also defended the car attack in his deposition but said that he sent most of his messages celebrating the car attack before he realized Fields “was connected to our group.” Hopper told the attorney interviewing him that he believed Heather Heyer’s murder was justified because she was a “communist” and went on to clarify that he saw all counter-protesters against the alt-right as “communists.”
While generally uncooperative in his deposition, Thomas Rousseau confirmed several key details, including the fact that Vanguard helped rent 15 passenger vans used to shuttle rally attendees, helped organize the torch march, and that the group James Alex Fields was seen marching with was in fact a Vanguard group.
Hopper and Rousseau both claimed they kept no records of Vanguard America’s membership and couldn’t remember anyone’s names. They both encouraged members in online chats to act violently at Unite The Right in their official capacities as leaders of Vanguard America; both applauded the James Fields car attack, mocking Heather Heyer’s death.
Vasillios Pistolis (non-defendant witness) – Traditionalist Worker Party, Atomwaffen Division
Vasillios Pistolis, a young neo-nazi involved in the brutal assaults seen at Unite The Right, was deposed for the lawsuit and a video of his questioning was shown to the jury.
Pistolis repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination when asked about photos and video showing him repeatedly using a flag pole to assault counter-protesters. He also invoked the Fifth when shown Discord chats of himself bragging about committing assault and joking with members of the Atomwaffen Division about bombing synagogues.
During the deposition, attorneys showed messages sent by Pistolis to Jason Kessler before Unite The Right where he asked about bringing flags to be used as weapons. Other chats by Pistolis show that he admitted beforehand to bringing a flagpole with staples sticking out of it.
Pistolis testified that while he was involved in brawls outside the park during Unite The Right, Michael Tubbs of the League of the South shouted “follow me” while directing people to take specific actions during the fighting.
Michael Chesny aka ‘Tyrone’ (non-defendant witness)
Videos were played from depositions of Michael Chesny (aka ‘Tyrone’ on Discord), a former Marine who volunteered as ‘transportation coordinator’ for Unite The Right. In private messages to Jason Kessler as well chats as on the larger Discord server used to plan the rally, Chesny discussed several scenarios and plans that foreshadowed violence at the Charlottesville rally. He discussed using flagpoles as spears and bludgeoning weapons, bringing guns, and running counter-protesters over with cars.
While Chesny did not deny under oath posting as ‘Tyrone’, he claimed to not remember having that username, and referred to his online persona in the third person throughout his deposition. In 2018, Chesny was kicked out of the Marines where he had served until he was exposed for his role in Unite The Right.
According to attorney Michael Bloch, Chesny also visited both Chris Cantwell and Eliott Kline when they were incarcerated.
Ben Daley (non-defendant witness) – Rise Above Movement
Ben Daley from the neo-nazi Rise Above Movement (RAM) was also deposed in a recorded interview played at the trial. Daley repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment but also admitted that he has pleaded guilty to committing assaults at Unite The Right that were not in self-defense. Photos of Daley committing assault in Charlottesville with other RAM members such as Cole White, Thomas Gillen and Michael Miselis were shown to the jury.
Daley, who was also a member of Identity Evropa, was shown in photographs from the event in which he appeared to be given orders by Unite The Right organizer and Identity Evropa leader Eliott Kline (aka Eli Mosley).
Robert ‘Azzmador’ Ray – The Daily Stormer
Robert ‘Azzmador’ Ray from the neo-nazi forum site Daily Stormer has failed to respond to this case, with Judge Moon already finding that he “entered into an agreement with one or more co-conspirators to engage in racially-motivated violence in Charlottesville.” Plaintiffs’ attorneys presented evidence to the jury that Ray was heavily involved in planning conversations with various groups involved in Unite The Right, including extensive talk of premeditated violence. Daily Stormer founder and owner Andrew Anglin has also failed to respond to litigation in ‘Sines v. Kessler.’
James Alex Fields
Some evidence exhibits regarding James Alex Fields were shown to the jury, including photos showing his bedside portrait of Hitler in his bedroom, and tweets he made tagging Richard Spencer shortly before he undertook his car attack that killed Heather Heyer and injured many of the plaintiffs in this case. Disturbing Virginia State Police helicopter footage of the attack and his jailhouse calls with his mother dismissing Heyer’s death were also played. Fields’ attorney David Campbell has been silent for most of the trial except to discuss medical expenses that will be assessed in determining damages related to the car attack.
The issue of how co-defendants reacted to Fields’ car attack plays into the legal conspiracy issue of ‘ratifying’ an action, which could open them up to more liability after the fact. The idea is similar to ‘co-signing’ Fields’ crime; thus, jurors could find that the car attack was part of the larger conspiracy. Due to the earlier chatter about car attacks on Discord especially, his attack may have been “foreseeable” to the co-defendants, the jury could find when assessing if they are also liable; Judge Moon underscored this aspect of the Discord chatter in discussions without the jury present on November 17th.
Dan Feidt contributed to this report for Unicorn Riot.