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Lawsuit against Unite the Right organizers heads to trial

A large lawsuit filed on behalf of Charlottesville community members injured in white supremacist violence has been set for trial.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon set a jury trial date of Oct. 26, 2020, for the long-running lawsuit against prominent white supremacists, neo-Nazis and hate groups involved in the 2017 Unite the Right rally.

The civil suit accuses the defendants of engaging in a violent conspiracy to violate the rights of people who were peacefully protesting the rally.

Co-lead counsel Roberta Kaplan said in a statement Wednesday that her clients are eager to go forward with a public jury trial, according to the Associated Press. She says it will show “how massive, how coordinated, and how dangerous” the defendants’ conspiracy to commit violence was.

This week, defendant Elliott Kline, who helped organize the rally, was found in contempt of court for repeated failures to comply with discovery requests.

Many of Kline’s statements to the court about his inability to find and access devices with potentially important information on them were not credible, Moon said in a written opinion issued Wednesday.

"This court finds Kline’s excuses for non-compliance with a multitude of court orders unbelievable, contradictory and at odds with the plain facts in the record," Moon wrote, before giving Kline a timeline to comply or face fines or arrest. "Put simply, Kline’s longrunning practice of trying to duck his obligations to the court and to plaintiffs in this case must come to an end."

Another hearing has been set for Dec. 16.


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