Yet More Schadenfreude!

Jurors on Tuesday found the main organizers of the deadly far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 liable under state law for injuries to counterprotesters, awarding more than $25 million in damages. But the jury deadlocked on two federal conspiracy charges.

Still, the verdict was a clear rebuke of the defendants — a mix of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Confederate sympathizers. They were found under Virginia law to have engaged in a conspiracy that led to injuries during the rally. The “Unite the Right” march began as a demonstration over the removal of a Confederate statue and led to the death of the counterprotester Heather Heyer, 32, when she was struck by a car driven by one of the defendants.

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The most prominent defendants included Richard Spencer, once seen as the leader of the alt-right in the United States; Jason Kessler, who organized the event; and Christopher Cantwell, a vocal neo-Nazi podcaster who is already serving 41 months in federal prison in a separate threats and extortion case.

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Lawyers for the far-right organizers said they would seek to reduce those amounts, and there was little chance that their clients could pay in any event. “The defendants in this case are destitute, none of them have any money,” said Joshua Smith, who represented Matthew Heimbach, Matthew Parrott and the Traditionalist Worker Party, modeled on the Germany’s Nazi Party.

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The federal charges related to whether the rally organizers had engaged in a race-based violent conspiracy, which is illegal under an 1871 federal law known as the Ku Klux Klan Act that was designed to prevent vigilantes from denying newly freed slaves their civil rights.

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The plaintiffs drew a line from Mr. Fields [The guy who ran over the protesters] through all the organizations that participated, linking him first to Vanguard America, the group that he marched with in Charlottesville, and then to the other organizations and their leaders. Lawyers for the far-right protesters argued that it was just online chatter that did not amount to strong ties between them, much less a conspiracy. None of the other defendants knew Mr. Fields beforehand, they said, and he was not involved in organizing the event.

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