Charlottesville, VA – The lawsuit against leading white supremacist organizers and groups began trial on October 25, 2021 at the federal courthouse in Charlottesville, Virginia. Attorneys with civil rights nonprofit Integrity First For America are representing victims of racist attacks at the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville in August 2017.
NOTE: Rush transcripts are generated from Unicorn Riot’s live tweets posted in real-time while observing trial proceedings from inside the courthouse media room. Quotations and descriptions written here are not always precise verbatim quotes and sometimes use paraphrasing or shorthand to quickly capture and convey exchanges during court hearings. There may be some errors regarding details like jury numbers, exhibit numbers and dates as well as typos and missing punctuation. These rush transcripts do not capture every single moment, but are our attempt to provide the public with as much direct access to the trial as possible until full court transcripts are made publicly available at a later date.
Jeff Schoep, former National Socialist Movement leader, finished his testimony from last week. (Jump to Schoep’s testimony)
Jason Kessler, primary organizer of Unite The Right, testified at length. He was asked about his private communications advocating violence at the event and did his best to throw Richard Spencer and Eliott Kline aka Eli Mosley under the bus. (Jump to Kessler testimony)
Chris Cantwell was also called to testify – the jury was shown his pre-rally communications with his codefendants despite his claims not to know them. He also lost his temper after plaintiffs presented various explicit calls for violence and endorsements of James Fields’ car attack that he had broadcast online. (Jump to Cantwell testimony)
Good morning! Court is getting started now in the 16th day of trial of the ‘Sines v. Kessler’ civil rights lawsuit filed after the deadly neo-nazi ‘Unite The Right’ rally in Charlottesville in 2017.
Former National Socialist Movement leader Jeff Schoep will finish testifying today.
Jeff Schoep Testimony, Continued
Schoep’s attorney Edward Rebrook (also lawyer for NSM) is cross-examining Schoep now, both are appearing remotely today.
Rebrook aks Schoep about his history with white nationalism, Schoep says he became fascinated as a young child. Schoep admits that his claims to have renounced neo-nazi beliefs doesn’t relieve him of culpability in the case. He denies there was a violent conspiracy around Unite The Right and says he be didn’t change his views because of being sued.
Schoep starts to talk about he “can’t understand” how anyone could come to the rally with the plan to harm people – plaintiffs object for speculation – Judge Moon is telling the jury that Scheop is allowed to testify about changing his beliefs but that can’t be considered a defense, only as information for the jury to consider when weighing potential punitive damages against Schoep.
Other “formers” who have exited the neo-nazi movement have cast doubts on Schoep’s claims to have been reformed over the last year. Schoep has continued to refuse/fail to produce evidence required by discovery in the lawsuit against Unite The Right, which he helped organize.
Rebrook: Do you still agree that Unite The Right was a “great success” as you stated after the rally?
Schoep: No, it was a horrible tragedy… at the time it was my job to make everything [NSM] did seem like a great success
Rebrook asks Schoep what his typical definition of success for a nazi rally would be, Schoep says when they go “peacefully”, claims this was the norm in 70-80 rallies he helped plan over decades.
Rebrook asks how many NSM members have been arrested at rallies, Schoep says “none”, plaintiffs object and Judge Moon agrees to strike the answer.
Rebrook asks Schoep about claims he made after Unite The Right to have “decked” someone in self-defense – Schoep agains tries to tell the jury that no one was ever arrested at an NSM rally – plaintiffs again object and Judge Moon tells the jury to disregard the claim.
Rebrook asks Schoep again about having “decked” someone in Charlottesville, supposed former nazi Schoep is still eager to defend his actions that day, says “I was assaulted so I defended myself.”
Rebrook asks Schoep about the video shown last Friday that plaintiffs said showed Schoep punching someone – Rebrook asks “was that you?”, Schoep says “I don’t want to speculate” but adds “I defended myself.”
Rebrook has Schoep add that the counter-protester he punched was white. Rebrook prompts Schoep to tell the court that any preparations he and his neo-nazi party made for Charlottesville were all merely in self-defense. Schoep recites a litany of “unbelievable” threats from anti-fascists and “the extreme far left.”
Schoep says someone “tried to kill me” when he was a neo-nazi leader in the late 1990s, striking him in the back of his head with a tire iron, splitting his skull. Schoep says he was attacked by Anti-Racist Action “but today they go by antifa.”
Rebrook asks Schoep if he helped plan the Unite The Right rally, Schoep says no. Rebrook asks “if you didn’t plan if then why are you a defendant?” Plaintiffs object, Judge Moon sustains the objection.
Rebrook asks Schoep if he spoke at Unite The Right, Schoep says that he wanted to but “I was asked not to speak.”
Schoep says he wasn’t at the torch march & didn’t have any involvement. Schoep says there were “no NSM members that I was aware of there” at the torch march (NSM members were there.)
Schoep claims he was “well out of town” when the car attack happened, tells the court he never met or communicated with James Alex Fields.
Rebrook: did you cooperate with the plaintiffs regarding discovery?
Schoep: to the best of my ability… I did have a phone that fell in the toilet… I sent that in…
Schoep says he was never on the Discord chat used to plan the rally.
Rebrook: did they do a complete forensic analysis on your phone that you had dropped in the toilet?
Plaintiffs: objection, hearsay
Judge Moon: sustained
Schoep claims he doesn’t recall deleting any online accounts.
Asked about NSM leader Burt Colucci deleting Schoep’s email accounts, Schoep says he had left the NSM by the time Colucci deleted the accounts.
Rebrook: when you told him you “no longer needed” you accounts was that the same as “delete these accounts”?
Rebrook: did you specifically tell him not to erase anything?
Schoep: early on… I explained all these different things were needed for the case…
Rebrook asks Schoep if he or any NSM members wore masks in Charlottesville, Schoep says “there was no reason to hide our faces, we were not going there to commit crimes or do anything illegal”
Schoep says he has had “no relationship” with Jason Kessler besides a few emails
Schoep claims he hasn’t known Richard Spencer or Eliott Kline/Eli Mosley prior to this case.
Rebrook: did you have any interactions with them during the rally itself?
Rebrook refers to Scheop’s VK message about “walking back with Spencer” after the rally, that actually refers to Spencer Borum from the League of the South, not Richard Spencer.
Rebrook tries to ask Schoep his “general opinion about law enforcement”, plaintiffs object, Judge Moon sustains.
Rebrook asks Schoep why he wanted police at Unite The Right, Schoep talks about wanting to keep “volatile sides separate.”
Rebrook: were they present…?
Schoep: depends on what you call present… there were some standing around… Schoep says he saw police do “very little to nothing” before clearing the park after the state of emergency was declared, repeats the common defense claim of being “pushed directly into hostile counter-protesters.”
Rebrook: did any NSM member carry a club?
Schoep: not to my knowledge…
Rebrook: what about flagpoles?
Schoep: …yes…made out of PVC… “one whack with the flagpole and the flagpole breaks”
Rebrook:… did NSM have shields?
Schoep: the NSM did have shields… as a “defensive tool”
Schoep claims the NSM’s shields were chipped and “banged up” from being used to “deflect rocks”
Rebrook asks Shoep to define the Nationalist Front, Schoep calls it “a loose coalition of organizations…that agreed to assist one another if it came to public demonstrations…an agreement between groups”
Rebrook: was there a written formal agreement in place?
Schoep: if a group wanted to affiliate, they would write through the website… the other member groups would have to say if it was someone everybody would agree to bring on
Rebrook: who hosted the Nationalist Front website?
Schoep: I believe the TWP
Rebrook: did you author the language on the site?
Schoep: it’s been too long, I can’t remember
Rebrook: does the Nationalist Front still exist?
Schoep:… it’s defunct
Rebrook: was there a section on the Nationalist Front website that ordered members to be violent?
Schoep: absolutely not… we had strict orders to be non-violent… if a member ran into a crowd and attacked someone… they would be kicked out…
Rebrook: prior to rallies would you typically give a briefing to attendees… what would the content of one of those briefings be?
Schoep: do not attack anybody… only defend yourself if you are attacked
Rebrook: to your knowledge did any NSM members encourage James Alex Fields to run his car into a crowd?
Schoep: absolutely not
Rebrook: is calling yourselves ‘shock troops’ the same thing as being violent?
Schoep: that’s rhetoric…
Rebrook is asking Schoep and about his phone and text records, Schoep says that he could have been discussing stuff other than Unite The Right. Asks Schoep about setting up auto-delete for messages on Signal, Schoep claims his deleted Signal messages weren’t all about the rally.
Rebrook pulls up the National Socialist Movement’s flyer sent to members encouraging them to attend Unite The Right – “this is a call to all NSM members to be in Charlottesville…”
Seems like Rebrook’s Zoom connection has dropped from the courtroom, an awkward silence has reigned for a few minutes now.
Rebrook: can you recall what the purpose of the Unite The Right rally was?
Schoep:..a permitted event about the historical statues..
Rebrook: so the point of the rally wasn’t to beat up people of different races?
Scheop: no, that wouldn’t make any sense
Rebrook: no further Qs
Bill Isaacson from the plaintiffs’ legal team is doing re-direct on Jeff Schoep. Asks Schoep where he is today, Schoep is at his home in Michigan.
Asks Schoep when he changed his beliefs, Schoep says in 2019.
Isaacson: Mr Schoep, this is a public release dated March 1, 2019 from the NSM website. It is a note “to fellow patriots of the National Socialist Movement” that ends with the words “respectfully, Jeff Schoep”…
Isaacson reads from the NSM release in which Schoep wrote about leaving the movement – Schoep wrote “As many of you know, NSM… and other groups… are named defendants in an ongoing frivolous lawsuit…”
Isaacson: when you left the movement and said you changed your beliefs you were complaining to your members about this lawsuit, which you said was frivolous, right?
Schoep: I did state those things, yes
Isaacson: the other thing you said was that you were deceived by an individual.. to sign over the NSM presidency… to protect NSM from the lawsuit?
Schoep: whatever I said in the letter, I stand by those statements
Isaacson: you went on to say “I would never purposefully damage the organization I have spent so many years saving… as for all of the vultures, snakes and international media and banking industry who have tried to hurt NSM… you have shown your true colors…”
Isaacson: do you also stand by your statement to your members asking them to stand by you and stay loyal?
Schoep: not today, I don’t stand by those statements
Isaacson: you told your counsel that you cooperated in discovery…voluntarily… that’s what you’ve said today… what happened was there was discovery requests, you refused to comply, and the court ordered you to produce those items…
Isaacson: when did you decide that the Unite The Right rally was a “horrible disaster”?
Schoep: personally I feel that it was a disaster the moment I heard someone lost their life
Isaacson: so when you posted on VK on August 13 “NSM and myself were there, battled our way through the streets with [lists allied nazi groups]… was a glorious day for white solidarity”… that’s the day you had already decided Unite The Right was a “horrible disaster”…?
Schoep: it’s tedious, you’re repeating everything
Isaacson: I appreciate your commentary…when you made this VK post on August 13, it’s your testimony that on that day you believed the Unite The Right rally was a horrible disaster?
Schoep:… what I said publicly would have been spin and rhetoric… this was typical operating procedure
Isaacson: was it spin when you said the rally was about “white solidarity in America”?
Scheop: no, at the time that would have been accurate
Isaacson: so it wasn’t just about statues was it, it was about “white solidarity in America”?
Schoep: I wasn’t the rally organizer…
Bill Isaacson is done w re-direct on Jeff Schoep
Jason Kessler Testimony
Plaintiffs call defendant Jason Kessler as a witness.
Kessler is sworn in and sits down in the witness stand, nervously smiling with his hands on his lap.
Karen Dunn from the @IntegrityforUSA legal team is questioning Kessler on direct – hands him a copy of his deposition transcript
Dunn: at some point in 2017 you decided you wanted to be the leader of the event called Charlottesville 2.0… you and Eliott Kline were the main organizers…
Dunn: you do not consider Jewish people to be white, you consider them to be a distinct ethnic group..?
Dunn: Do you believe “western civilization was built by white men and they should have majority ownership over their birthright?”
Dunn shows the jury a post where Kessler talked about “differences in mental development” between races.
Dunn refers to a speech from Charlottesville 1.0 rally in May 2017 where Kessler thanked a list of individuals and groups for helping (many are defendants in this case)
Dunn: in your deposition you said you wanted to be the leader of the Charlottesville 2.0 rally….
Dunn shows a May 24, 2017 Discord post where Kessler announced the idea for Charlottesville 2.0 in the “Alt-Right Events Project” discord server: “I think we need to have a Battle of Berkeley situation in Charlottesville [lists groups and names] and fight this shit out.” Kessler’s post said “I think we need a PUBLICIZED event… they [antifa] bring everything they’ve got and we do too”
Dunn: you wanted antifa to “bring everything they’ve got”… and then you say “and we do too”…you wanted the event to be publicized… do you agree that if there’s fighting in the streets there would be more publicity?
Kessler: probably, yeah
Dunn shows another May 2017 Kessler chat – “The alt-right is a dangerous movement. It feeds on the chaos energy of our unchecked racism bantz…but in IRL activism you have to be more like a civil rights movement .. it’s difficult to say that you can contain that manic energy..” Kessler’s post went on to say “I’m not really sure but I wonder about it. I would go to the ends of the earth…this is war.”
Dunn asks Kessler if he initially had a Facebook chat group for planning the Charlottesville rally – Kessler says he did have one.
Dunn shows a June 5, 2017 text Kessler sent to ‘Baked Alaska’: “Are you on Facebook? A lot of our planning is happening in a secret chat”
Dunn shows a FB chat from the private Unite The Right planning group where Kessler says “I just got off the phone with Based Stickman and he’s on board… communists deserve to get culled… There is no getting along. We have to fight for our future”
In his deposition read just now by Dunn, Kessler agreed that “the more extreme people won out as far as the tone of the rally.”
Dunn: Based Stickman, who had hit someone with a leaded stick, was one of the more moderate people in that statement?
Kessler: yes, his views…
Dunn: in addition to the secret FB chats you had a Discord server… you were identified as the event coordinator and a moderator for the Charlottesville 2.0 server… as the event coordinator you knew you had the ability to manage the channels and the messages…
Dunn: you also had the ability to remove or ban members… if we see someone posting on the server it’s someone you had the ability to ban but did not…?
Kessler: theoretically Dunn: that summer you were on the Discord server everyday…?
Dunn: not probably, actually, correct?
Dunn shows the court a post from the “The Discord Stuff” Discord server where Kessler wrote about calling Unite The Right “the Battle of Charlottesville”
Dunn shows the court a message in the Charlottesville 2.0 discord chat where Kessler referred to Unite The Right as “EAST COAST BERKELEY” and told others in the chat to “assemble every motherfucker you can“
Dunn shows a text exchange between Jason Kessler & Richard Spencer – Kessler tells Spencer “We are raising an army my liege, for free speech but for the cracking of skulls if it comes to it”
Dunn: let’s talk about the “army”, one of the first people you reached out to was Matt Heimbach, chairman of the Traditionalist Worker Party – you reached out to him the day after you told people on Discord you wanted to “fight this shit out”…
Dunn: with respect to Mr. Heimbach, at your deposition you agreed that he had “neo-nazi views”…when you invited him you knew that his group was going to come with him… and you also communicated with others from the TWP and that included Matthew Parrott… you spoke frequently to someone named Derrick Davis, the regional coordinator for TWP… you called him your friend…you also spoke during planning with someone named Dillon Hopper, the leader of Vanguard America… at your deposition you called them a “white identity, far-right, probably fascist group”…
Kessler: that’s correct
Dunn shows a Discord conversation between Jason Kessler and Dillon Hopper on Discord – Hopper says if invited to speak at Unite The Right he would give a “six word speech” – “gas the k*kes race war now”
Dunn also refers to Kessler reaching out to Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement to attend Unite The Right as well as League of the South leader Michael Hill. Dunn refers to Kessler reaching out to League of the South member named Danny Durham (sp?) and trying to figure out what Facebook alias Michael Hill had been using to contact him.
Dunn: Nathan Damigo and Eli Kline were both leaders of Identity Evropa and they joined you for weekly calls to plan Unite The Right…
Kessler: I don’t think that’s true
Dunn: Mr. Spencer also participated in the leadership channel through his intermediaries such as Eli Kline… and Brian Brathovd?
Kessler: I think that’s accurate
Dunn: all these organizations we’ve discussed were invited into the Charlottesville 2.0 discord server…?
Kessler: all the ones we’ve talked about
Judge Moon: let’s take a 20 minute recess
Judge Moon is walking back into court now – Jason Kessler’s testimony should resume momentarily
Karen Dunn: Mr. Kessler, let’s talk for a second about Mr. Cantwell… Cantwell also participated in planning discussion about Charlottesville 2.0?
Jason Kessler: He was at the meeting on August 11
Karen Dunn: you recall that you invited him to the Facebook chat group?
Jason Kessler: If you say I did… I don’t remember
Dunn shows a message where Kessler welcomed Cantwell to the FB chat group.
Dunn shows emails exchanged between Kessler & Cantwell on June 13, 2017 – Kessler wrote to Cantwell “Like I was saying on the phone, Charlottesville is a liberal shitshow”
Dunn: so…you had a phone call, you invited him to Charlottesville & he accepted your invitation…you also agreed you & Mr. Cantwell exchanged text messages…
Dunn refers August 7-17, 2017 text messages between Kessler and Cantwell
August 12, 2:18 PM text from Kessler to Cantwell says “we’re still meeting at the afterparty location at 5 PM… leaders and essential people only…”
Dunn: 2:18 PM… that’s about a half hour after the car attack.. you invite “leaders and essential people” and that includes Mr. Cantwell, correct?
Dunn: Cantwell replied that he couldn’t attend and needed to keep a “low profile” due to legal problems…
Dunn: with respect to the Daily Stormer, in your deposition you called it a “neo-nazi website”… defendant Robert Ray is associated w the Daily Stormer… let’s show PX-506… this is a Discord post from July 28… a post by Robert Ray who goes by ‘Azzmador’, he says he just got “done with an hours long chat with some of the organizers and he feels better about the thing”
Kessler claims he saw Ray as a “scumbag”, tried to keep him out of the event
Dunn: you don’t disagree that Ray came to the event… you agreed to have him there..one of the reasons you did that is you wanted the Stormers to be there…??
Kessler: i don’t think that’s accurate
Dunn: you did so because you wanted the Stormers to come to the event?
Kessler: at first…
Dunn: You don’t dispute that Mr. Ray was there on August 11…
Kessler: he was a very bad person and I don’t think he should have been at the event, I’ll never associate with him again
Dunn: let’s talk about your communications with other defendants in this case… you produced your phone records… they were voluminous as one would expect…are these your phone records?
Kessler: it looks that way, yes
Dunn: are you going to dispute that in these phone records are calls with Robert Ray?
Kessler: it could be…
Dunn: there are also phone calls with Richard Spencer…
Dunn shows May 24-August 12 phone records between Kessler & Spencer – seems to be 15 calls
Dunn shows records of Kessler’s phone calls with Chris Cantwell – shows they spoke 13 times between June and August of 2017 – they spoke daily between August 7 and August 12, some phone records may show voicemail as opposed to actual calls.
Kessler had ~25 voicemails or phone calls with Matt Heimbach of the neo-nazi Traditionalist Worker Party between May 22-August 12 of 2017, one call was 53 mins long.
Kessler had 8 phone calls with Michael Hill of the League of the south between June 13 and August 12, 2017. Kessler’s phone call records list with Eliott Kline is LONG – Dunn has to scroll down repeatedly to show the list to the jury. “There are calls in here, some of them last for an hour or more than an hour, you talked to him constantly.” Dunn says phone records show Kessler talked to Eliott Kline every day in the days leading up to Unite The Right.
Dunn: “there are some days where you talked to many of these people one after another”… in a series?
Kessler: i talked to them a lot
Dunn: you handled some of the promotional materials…approved some of them…?
Dunn: i just want to ask you about one in particular, this is a poster that you distributed…you didn’t do the design but you approved this?
Kessler: … I approved it…
Dunn: you sent this poster to Mr. Spencer, you also sent this to Mr. Heimbach…my understanding of this poster is the original image had a tank on it and that was taken off, do you remember that?
Kessler: I don’t recall
Dunn: and you on this poster it says “March on Charlottesville, VA”….
Dunn shows another exhibit – from a FB chat w Kessler and Derrick Davis of TWP & others – part of this chat references the ‘Battle of Berkeley’ – “almost all the action is taking place in the streets”
Dunn shows another chat involving Jason Kessler and Evan Thomas from Identity Evropa as well as Derrick Davis from the Traditionalist Worker Party – Kessler wrote: “Antifa is irrelevant now. They aren’t willing to escalate violence. That’s all they’re good for is making the other liberals look bad & instigating a righteous civil war“
Dunn: that was written 11 days before you proposed Charlottesville 2.0, May 10?
June 28 chat between Colton Merwin & Jason Kessler
Merwin: What’s the situation with Antifa are they coming
Kessler: I don’t know yet. I hope so…. It’s really up to the Antifa to respond and not be pussies. I would suggest taunting them a little on social media
Dunn shows messages from the Charlottesville 2.0 Discord chat – Kessler shared a photo of an antifascist activist and wrote “anyone from New York that can get this guy to the rally?” Kessler on Discord: “I want to talk shit but as the event organizer I can only do so much. People need to bullycide them into “confronting the alt-right” in Charlottesville“
Dunn: as the organizer of the event, there are things you wanted to keep separate from yourself and you wanted other people to do for you?
Kessler: I did delegate some tasks…
Dunn shows another Facebook chat by Kessler in the ‘RVA Anti-Commie’ FB group he was in – Kessler wrote “We need a new way to tip off Antifa when we want them to show up somewhere. Someone who can send photos and tips to their members. Either with a fake account or some apolitical member who will do it on our behalf”
Shane Goode: “I can probably get my girl to use her account to do it. Just let me know what to do“
Kessler: “That would be cool. We definitely want to play these people into our hands Saturday in Charlottesville“
Dunn shows the court another Discord post by Kessler in the Unite The Right discord chat where he talked about items “which can be turned from a free speech tool to a self-defense weapon should things turn ugly.“
When asked about the part where he says “we don’t want to scare [antifa] from laying hands on us“, Jason Kessler says “this is a tactic that even Martin Luther King would use.”
Dunn shows the court another exchange where Kessler said that guns shouldn’t be open carried because they would make it harder to provoke anti-racists into street fights.
Kessler claims to not remember when shown Facebook chats where he says “can you guys conceal carry? I don’t want to scare Antifa off from throwing the first punch.”
“I want them to start something” – Kessler in the FB chat when explaining he doesn’t want large guns at the rally because they would make it harder to bait antifascists into fighting
Dunn is asking Jason Kessler about his comms with Virginia-based Traditionalist Worker Party member Derrick Davis – Kessler is listed as a TWP representative in the Charlottesville discord chat
Dunn: you had a lot of Facebook messages with Derrick Davis…
Dunn shows a June 7 message where Kessler tells Davis “it may take a little extra prodding to get SURJ out to the Double Horseshoe…I know how to make sure SURJ shows up, tell them you think we’re with Richard Spencer” (Kessler sent Derrick Davis a script of a fake rumor to be circulated in order to get SURJ to come to a bar where he could bait them)
Kessler FB msg to Davis: “Tell them something like “Kessler’s group is meeting on the Downtown Mall again Thursday night….” Kessler provides Derrick Davis with a lengthy false message to circulate to try to trick liberals into coming to where he wanted.
Dunn asks Kessler if he was a member of the Proud Boys at the time(Kessler’s fake message for Davis to circulate also mentioned the Proud Boys), Kessler says yes he was for a short time.
Another Facebook message exchange between Jason Kessler and Derrick Davis talks about different models of flag poles, Davis talks about a kind of pole that “can be weaponized”
Dunn: … you would agree it was important to be completely forthcoming with the police about Charlottesville 2.0?
Dunn starts to refer to texts between Jason Kessler & Eliott Kline aka Eli Mosley July 11 texts between Jason Kessler & Eliott Kline –
Kessler: “Cops want to talk to me about the rally“
Kline: “Just hold them off until we can talk about our plan a bit more”
Kessler: “I told them all I can say is basic stuff about antifa trying to disrupt our plans in the morning and trying to block the park“
Kessler: “it would be helpful to give them a security liason who can tell them what we want them to know“
Facebook chats between Jason Kessler & Wade Garrote on July 18, 2017:
Kessler: “If the police ask you how many people we have coming don’t tell them. If they think we have more than 400 they might be able to help pull the permit… Just say you don’t know”
Wade Garrote: “are you guys aware of Cantwell’s conversation with Charlottesville PD? he played a recording of it on his show last night. Sounds like they’ve been fishing for a number of expected attendees..”
Dunn refers to another private Facebook message where Kessler wrote “they should tout the 800-100 number because it’s better for our enemies to underestimate us” after discussing feeding a lower number to the Charlottesville PD.
Dunn refers to a text message between Jason Kessler & neo-nazi Augustus Invictus, one of the scheduled speakers:
Kessler: “if you get a chance to speak to Det Kirby of the Charlottesville PD… If he asks you how many people are coming with you say you don’t know”
Dunn: this doesn’t pertain to the general attendees, this refers to people who were coming w Mr. Invictus and you’re saying ‘tell them you don’t know’…
Dunn shows July 8, 2017 private message from Kessler where he says “privately we can tout the 800-1000 number, better for our enemies to underestimate us“
Dunn then shows the Unite The Right permit application where Kessler wrote that only 400 people were expected to attend.
Dunn also shows that the permit application had an option to request street closings, and Kessler checked ‘no’ (Matt Heimbach and others claimed they were entitled to march into & assault counter-protesters on Market Street due to the permit)
Dunn asks Kessler if he “led the torch march on August 11”
Kessler quickly answers “FALSE – Eliott Kline led it, he did it”
Dunn asks Kessler if he still claims that the decision to hold the torch march was made on August 11 – Kessler says yes.
Dunn shows Kessler a text exchange between himself & Eli Kline where Kessler wrote on July 10, 2017 “We have to change up the torches plan” and Kline replied “I agree with your Friday night idea. I think we may do that”
Kessler again claims that “Eliott Kline and Richard Spencer were in control” of the torch march
Dunn shows another July 10 text where Kessler said “We could do it Friday in front of the Thomas Jefferson statue at UVA’s Rotunda”
Kessler claims Kline later “took control of that” but admits the torch march was his own idea
Dunn shows more Discord messages from the ‘Charlottesville 2.0’ chat from July 14, 2017 where Kessler was asked about what kinds of torches to bring and he discussed preparations for the event.
Dunn: did you tell any police or anyone associated with UVA that there was gonna be a torch march on their campus, preparations were happening in July…?
Kessler: no I told them later
Dunn: you would agree that at this point the plan was concrete enough to discuss ordering and shipping torches…?
Dunn shows a post from the ‘Azzmador’ Discord server where Robert ‘Azzmador’ Ray tells his Discord members on July 31st to “go to your local Dollar Store or Walmart and get cheap tiki torches… there will be a torch march”
Dunn: so he knew that there would be a torch march, but the police didn’t know, UVA didn’t know…?
Dunn: in your deposition under oath you agreed that you estimated about 500 marchers… at the torch rally
Dunn is asking Kessler about when he called the police on August 11 – “those calls… were the night of August 11, they were not before that?”
Kessler – yes, we called them before we did the march
Dunn: at night?
Dunn says Kessler’s phone records show a single incoming call he received form the police that night – the police sergeant said Eliott Kline answered Kessler’s phone and told them that the march would proceed up University Ave., assemble for 15 mins and then leave.
Dunn: we can agree that the torch march did not proceed directly up University Ave. to the Thomas Jefferson statue, assemble for 15 mins and then leave?
Kessler: it was more chaotic than that
Dunn refers to the route being different, Kessler tries to blame Eliott Kline again
Dunn shows a photo of the torch march with Jason Kessler leading the group holding a torch – Kessler agrees with Dunn that Richard Spencer was “near the front as well.”
In his deposition Kessler also said Eli Mosley and Chris Cantwell were nearby.
Kessler claims when asked by Dunn that he didn’t know or consider that students were living on the UVA lawn at the time the torch march was crossing that area.
Dunn reads from Kessler’s deposition where he said he would consider burning a cross “on someone’s lawn” to be “an act of intimidation”
Dunn the court shows another photograph Jason Kessler took of himself holding a torch walking up the UVA rotunda next to Ben Daley of the violent neo-nazi group Rise Above Movement (Kessler claims to not know or recognize Ben Daley)
Dunn shows the picture seen earlier in the case of UVA students around the Jefferson Statue with the “VA Students Act Against White Supremacy” banner. Kessler says he didn’t notice the banner at the time.
Dunn: your testimony in your deposition said you were very concerned and tried to do everything in your power to stop the torch marchers from coming into the plaza… but everything in your power did not include telling them to march elsewhere or trying to communicate with the students?
Kessler claims when he arrived at the statue he was scared by “large people with tattoos and guns”, Dunn has that comment struck from the record.
Kessler is again eager to blame Kline, who he claims was directing the crowd with a megaphone. Dunn says Kessler’s phone records show he didn’t call the cops (“there’s no time for that” – Kessler)
Dunn says Kessler also didn’t try to call Kline during the torch march, Kessler says “my recollection of the phone calls is not so good.” Dunn shows the court a picture of the torch march as it’s surrounding the statue – Kessler is seen standing by the group
Dunn: was this before or after you tried everything in your power to stop this?
Dunn: you just gave up?
Kessler: I saw tattooed antifa with guns giving me the middle finger so I tried to get away from that situation… that wasn’t a good situation
Dunn: you said you saw counter-protesters with guns, that’s your testimony?
Kessler: yeah, there is one individual who had a gun, at least
Dunn: during the torch march, white nationalists chanted “you will not replace us” and “jews will not replace us”, you joined in in the chants?
Kessler: i chanted “you will not replace us” not the second one… i was not trying to be so focused on the Jews
Dunn: many of the people there were “focused on the Jews”… they were a part of your event?
Kessler: they were
Dunn refers to talks about “you will not replace us being a “triggering” chant in the Charlottesville 2.0 chat channel about planning chants for use at the rally.
Dunn shows a tweet sent by Kessler celebrating the torch rally as “an incredible moment” – “after the violence Friday night, that you claimed that you did everything in your power to prevent it?”
Kessler says he wasn’t celebrating the violence but a “white civil rights rally”
Dunn shows a Kessler tweet from more recent days where he wrote he was still proud of the August 11 torch march as an “iconic moment.. still an awesome visual”
Asked if he considers himself responsible for the torch rally, Kessler tells the court he does not.
Dunn shows texts between Kessler & Eliott Kline the night of August 11:
Kessler: come around the front of the statue
Kline: Great work. Rest easy
Kessler: when and where are we meeting tomorrow?
Kline: I will be at Mctintire partk at 5 or 6 AM…
Kessler text to Kline: “...you’ve done excellent work too. Let’s knock this out of the park tomorrow...”
Dunn: your texts to… your co-organizer… don’t say one word to him about how there was so much violence at the torch march… and how to do better tomorrow??
Kessler: I didn’t see what was going on around that statue…
Dunn: so your testimony was that you didn’t see any of the violence?
Dunn is asking Kessler about entrances used to enter Emancipation Park during the morning of Unite The Right. Kessler had said in his deposition that he saw the column of Nationalist Front members with flags & shields (TWP/NSM/ League of the South) that mirning and counter-protesters didn’t notice him (“thank god”) because they were fixated on the group with flags & shields instead of him.
Kessler said in his deposition that he was able to enter Emancipation Park that morning because one of the clergy lined up outside of the park unlinked his arms allowing him to slip through.
Dunn shows the court a picture of Jason Kessler during Unite The Right – he’s shown speaking with Eliott Kline – Kline has an earpiece in and blood on. hisshirt, other men standing behind Kessler have earpieces in as well. Kessler tells Dunn he thinks Kline’s earpiece was linked into Richard Spencer.
Kessler claims the photo shows Kline being “intimidating” towards him, ordering him what to do.
Dunn plays the court a video clip from Robert ‘Azzmador’ Ray’s stream from inside the Unite The Right rally where Kessler brags to Ray “we broke through Cornel West, Cornel West BTFO” and Ray jokes about hanging West.
Kessler had previously testified he thought Ray was a “terrible person” – Dunn plays another clip from Ray’s stream where Ray gives Kessler a fawning introduction and leads a group of Daily Stormer guys in a “Hail Kessler” chant.
Dunn returns to Kessler’s claims that he saw guns on counter-protesters at the August 11 torch march – she now pulls up Kessler’s deposition transcript and quotes a part where Kessler said he saw no firearms that night.
Dunn shows the court a tweet Kessler sent November 1, 2021 (during this trial, during plaintiff Devin Willis’ testimony after Chris Cantwell asked Devin Willis for names of people he rode with to counter-protest the torch march). Kessler’s tweet named a person and claimed they were wearing an antifa uniform and showed a photo of them.
Dunn shows that the photo was taken from a UVA website talking about their having provided street medic services during Unite The Right
Dunn: you’ve contended this person is a violent terrorist?
Kessler: no but she has an antifa bandana
Dunn shows a picture from August 12 taken inside the park during the rally – it shows someone with a red bandana carrying a big camera, possibly with the media.
Dunn: Mr. Kessler, the jury has already heard that at 1:40 PM James Fields intentionally drove his car into a crowd of protesters…one of the first things you did after the car attack was to call a meeting of “leaders and essential people”?
Kessler: I think so
Dunn shows a text message from Kessler to a group chat including most defendants (Cantwell, Spencer, Kline, Michael Hill, Augustus Invictus etc)
Dunn: you were inviting them to your meeting of “leaders & essential people”?
Kessler: uh, yeah
2:54 PM August 12, 2017 text from Jason Kessler to Eliott Kline: “We need to shut down the Discord“
11:45 PM August 12 2017 text from Jason Kessler to Eliott Kline: “We definitely need to delete the Discord“
August 14 2017 text from Jason Kessler to Eliott Kline: “We still need to delete the Cville server”
Dunn: it’s still your testimony that the reason you needed to delete the discord was that people were making offensive jokes?
Kessler claims that jokes about Heather Heyer’s death are why he wanted to delete it
Dunn: but the real reason you needed to delete the Discord server was because people on it were talking about committing violence..?
Kessler: I didn’t take what people were saying in there very seriously…
Dunn shows a Discord private message from August 14 where someone wrote to Kessler “the Charlottesville server needs to get deleted. Its compromised and has people talking about committing violence…”
Dunn: am I right that your family and Heather Heyer’s family used to go to the same church?
Kessler: I don’t have any recollection of that
Dunn shows the jury Kessler’s August 18, 2017 tweet where he called Heather Heyer disparaging terms and referred to her murder as “payback time” and linked to a Daily Stormer post about Heyer.
Another tweet is shown to the jury that Kessler sent on August 24, 2017 where he said “Heather Heyer was to blame for participating in an armed mob blocking traffic during a state of emergency“
Kessler agrees with Dunn that he was at a meeting with various alt-right defendants the night of August 12 where Richard Spencer went on a violent rant with racist and antisemitic slurs talking about wanting to terrorize Charlottesville. Dunn shows a November 3, 2019 tweet where Kessler posted the audio of the same Richard Spencer rant: “Richard Spencer is a narcissist and a sociopath…. I have related stories about the *real* Richard Spencer…THIS is that man” with a link to the audio.
Judge Moon breaks for an hour of lunch recess now.
Judge Moon walking back in – Jason Kessler’s testimony should resume shortly when the jury returns.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Karen Dunn: after the events of August 11-12 you reached out via telephone to James Fields while he was in prison.. do you remember how many times you called him?
Jason Kessler: I think twice
Dunn: our records reflect 4 calls where you spoke with him & at least 5 voicemails…you told Mr. Fields you thought he was innocent… and that he could talk to you anytime… you put money on his account… asked to be on his visitors list…
Kessler: I don’t remember…
Dunn refers to Kessler’s text to Eliott Kline aka Eli Mosley about needing to delete the ‘Charlottesville 2.0’ Discord chat
Kline text to Kessler August 14 : “Alright the Discord is handled”
Dunn: you’re aware…the only reason why we have records of Discord in this case is because the Discord company restored the documents from their databases…?
Kessler: I don’t know what Discord did or didn’t do…
Dunn refers to Kessler’s previous comments about Robert ‘Azzmador’ Ray being a “terrible person” – Dunn shows the jury a clip from Ray’s Unite The Right stream of Kessler praising Azzmador on his livestream and shaking hands w Mr. Ray.
Dunn is done now – “I pass the witness”
Richard Spencer (representing himself) is the first from the defense team to cross-examine Jason Kessler.
Spencer asks Kessler about growing up, going to college at UVA. Asks Kessler “when did you first become aware of me?”, Kessler says “after the Heil Trump speech” in November 2016.
Spencer asks when Kessler first tried to contact him, they both agree it was early 2017. Spencer asks Kessler about his Kessler’s involvement in the May 2017 ‘Charlottesville 1.0’ event – Kessler spoke after that event at a dinner but not at the rally itself. Kessler says he “read some notes” that “Eli Kline gave to me.” Kessler says he didn’t organize the May event. Asked what other events were “inspirations” for Unite The Right apart from the May ‘1.0’ event, Kessler cites alt-right events in Berkeley & DC.
Spencer: did you want to be a leader of the alt-right movement?
Spencer: and Unite The Right was your ticket to that?
Spencer shows the jury phone records between himself & Jason Kessler – asked about one date shown, Kessler says “I remember calling you a bunch of times and you didn’t pick up.” Spencer points out how most of the calls between him and Kessler are 1-3 minutes long. One was 10 minutes long, another was 9, another was 7.
Spencer: were we in close contact in August 2017?
Kessler: no, you used go-betweens like Mr. Kline, he was your agent
Spencer: You called Mr. Kline my designee?
Kessler: he described himself that way to me
Spencer: but he’s a liar?
Kessler: a liar that you depended on.
Spencer: you contacted Eli about the rally in order to “get me on board”, those were your words…?
Kessler: i don’t recall exactly
Spencer: do you remember testifying to that effect?
Kessler: i don’t recall
Spencer: well, I can read it
Spencer: you had many communications with Mr. Kline throughout the summer?
Kessler: yes, we had many communications but he would also go incommunicado for lengths of time
Spencer: I want to refer you now to the “rant from hell”…it was characterized by Ms. Dunn as a speech… do you remember the context of that rant?… tell us a little about the context…
Kessler: the only thing I recall before that…
Spencer: where was it, who was there
Kessler: Somewhere in the countryside… in an afterparty, at a house, we went in a room to discuss, people were panicking after the car attack
Spencer: how many people were there?
Kessler: 10 or less
Spencer: would you characterize that as a speech…?
Kessler: I think ‘rant’ is applicable
Spencer: it was a private conversation is a private room… how did that outburst reach the light of day?
Kessler: someone recorded it and released it to Milo Yiannopoulos
Spencer: did you record it?
Spencer: who recorded it…does Dave O’Reilly ring a bell?
Kessler: yeah, thats the guy
Spencer: is Milo…is he a fan of Richard Spencer…?
Kessler: it was meant to embarrass you, I think…
Spencer: when that was released… in the fall of 2019…does that sound right?
Kessler: i don’t recall
Spencer: in the tweet where you say “Richard Spencer is a sociopathic narcissist”… when did you determine I was a sociopathic narcissist?
Kessler: …I remember the first time I met you, you just made my skin crawl… you were slimy, you seemed inhuman, like a robot or a serial killer…
Spencer cuts Kessler off (“this is enough”) when Kessler was telling him “you and Eli Mosley were calling me a Jew because I wouldn’t Sieg Heil with you”
Spencer pulls up a January 2017 text from Kessler, says that is the first time they texted. Kessler says he doesn’t remember it.
(One of Kessler’s texts Spencer scrolls past says “eat my dust you jealous b*tch”)
Spencer shows a May 27, 2018 text he received from Kessler that says “we’re planning a rally in both Charlottesville and Washington DC for August 12” and Spencer replied “Let me seriously consider this”
Spencer: so in 2018 you were planning a rally in support of being a sociopathic narcissist?
Kessler: this was before I learned of your duplicitous nature when you were emailing Eli Mosley behind my back about how I was a Jew
Spencer shows a communication from Kessler that he says he personally found “revelatory” – the same texts shown earlier where Jason Kessler was trying to trick local activists into thinking that Richard Spencer was at a Charlottesville bar
Richard Spencer asks Kessler if he was trying to get someone to impersonate him in order to start a fight – Kessler says “I was trying to get attention for my political message”
Spencer: you wanted to find a Spencer impersonator to get people riled up to get attention for your message?
Kessler: yeah that was the idea
Spencer: have you ever heard to the psychological term of ‘projection’, does that mean anything to you?
Kessler: I’ve heard of it
Spencer: what does it mean to you?
Kessler: you can tell me…
Spencer: have you ever been diagnosed with mental illness?
Judge Moon: sustained
Spencer: No further questions
Defendant Chris Cantwell (also representing himself) is up at the podium now to cross-examine Jason Kessler
Cantwell: was it your decision to invite me to the so-called leadership meeting on August 11?
Kessler: I don’t recall
Cantwell: whose idea was it to invite me to Unite The Right?
Kessler: it could have been my idea but I don’t recall…you were a renowned entertainer with a large fanbase…
Cantwell: please describe what role if any I had in planning Unite The Right?
Cantwell: how important was Discord in planning Unite The Right?
Kessler: Plaintiffs are exaggerating… there was a lot of careless chatter…
Kessler says the “real organizing” was “the stuff that we haven’t talked about, like my conversations with the police… the permit” whereas the Discord chat was “shitposting”
Cantwell: let’s stick with Discord… you were a moderator… do you know what role if any the Radical Agenda discord had…was I a moderator or admin on the Charlottesville 2.0 Discord or on the leadership discussion channel?
Kessler: Not to my knowledge
Cantwell: do you recall we had a lunch on August 9… do you think it would stand out in your mind if we discussed a plan to commit racially motivated violence?
Kessler: we absolutely did not discuss that
Cantwell: at the so-called leadership meeting at Mcintire park on August 11…I have two audio clips… I’d like to play one of them now… this is CCEX-10…there’s still some deliberations about what portions of the body camera video are going to come in…
Karen Dunn (plaintiffs’ attorney): Your honor, we request a brief sidebar
Cantwell is playing one of the audio clips from his body camera video of the August 11 ‘leadership meeting’ in Mintire park
Kessler on the audio says “there was an article up on ItsGoingDown about the UVA march” so they’ll have to decide whether to change the plans or not. “If we were gonna move forward with this we would have to choose a different meetup location”
Cantwell on the clip: “is law enforcement already moving forward with this?… If we’re gonna do this I want the cops involved…”
Cantwell also tells Kessler “I’m gonna follow your lead no matter what… this is your thing” and “if these guys attack us we’re gonna fucking hurt them.” Cantwell’s audio clip also shows that someone added “with torches” after he said “we’re gonna fucking hurt them” and someone else says something about “elimination.”
Kessler on the audio talks about wanting to provoke people in Charlottesville into “chimping out.”
Cantwell is asking Kessler Qs about other details like if and when he contacted the Charlottesville police after that meeting
Cantwell: are you aware of what changed about the planned route for the torch light march?
Kessler: Eli Kline was leading that thing..he’s the one who had the bullhorn..he was meandering all over the place…I remember telling somebody “you’re going the wrong way, go this way..”
Cantwell: when you approached the planning meeting, did you know my body camera was recording… did you know I had the body camera on?
Cantwell: at some point after these events did you become aware I was talking to the FBI?
Kessler: I…uhh… I…
Judge Moon: sustained
Cantwell asks Kessler when they first met, Kessler says he thinks it was at the alt-right rally in DC in summer 2017 at the Lincoln memorial
Kessler says “I can’t recall” when Cantwell asks him about any other contact they might have had.
Cantwell asks Kessler if he was using Signal for texts during Unite The Right – Kessler says he wasn’t aware of the app at the time.
Cantwell: is race your only disagreement with antifa?
Cantwell: is race your only problem with immigration?
Cantwell: do you think abolishing the police would be a good idea in a white ethnostate?
Judge Moon: sustained
Chris Cantwell: no further questions
David Campbell, lawyer for James Fields, cross-examining Jason Kessler, asks Kessler if he ever saw or met James Fields prior to August 12, 2017. Kessler says “absolutely not”, Campbell is done.
Edward Rebrook, counsel for Jeff Schoep and the National Socialist Movement, is crossing now. Rebrook asks Kessler if he invited Schoep to the meeting the night of August 12, Kessler says he didn’t remember. Rebrook asks Kessler if he considered Jeff Schoep a Unite The Right organizer, Kessler says “no” and that he was “embarrassed” by Schoep. Rebrook is done.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Karen Dunn is questioning Kessler on re-direct.
Dunn shows a map of UVA campus with a line indicating the route the torch march took.
Dunn: you said that you didn’t create the route and tried to talk to Eli Kline to change it…?
Kessler: my memory’s not great on this
Dunn shows Kessler’s phone records that show calls at 7:11 PM, 9:40 PM, 9:48 PM, 10:17 PM, 10:51 PM, 10:52 PM that night
Dunn: that night Mr. Kline texted you “great work, rest easy” and you responded “thanks, you’ve done great work too“, you’re aware of that?
Dunn: you didn’t send him any text saying ‘hey, you’re going the wrong way?’
Kessler: you’re not gonna pull your phone out at a protest…it’s loud w all the chants
Dunn pulls up Kessler’s 10:12 PM text to Kline saying “come around the front of the statue“, Kessler says that was sent after the march was done.
Dunn asks Kessler about his testimony that the permit for Unite The Right was very important. She shows the court a series of tweets Kessler sent to Nathan Damigo of Identity Evropa & Brad Griffin of the League of the South. Kessler’s tweets say “city council has cancelled the permit.. but we’re holding it in Lee Park anyway… nothing will stop us.”
Dunn shows the court another tweet where Kessler said “Charlottesville city council has cancelled the permit for the march but we’re holding it anyway” – NSM leader Jeff Schoep quote-tweeted Kessler’s tweet wiht a message encouraging his followers to attend Unite The Right.
Dunn shows august 8 Discord posts by Kessler where he says “the event is still proceeding as planned no matter what.”
Kessler is dismissed as a witness now.
Christopher Cantwell Testimony
The plaintiffs call defendant Christopher Cantwell as a witness.
Cantwell asks Judge Moon “can I take notes during this?”
Judge Moon tells him “you can’t stop and write…”
Michael Bloch from the @IntegrityforUSA legal team is questioning Chris Cantwell on direct examination- Bloch starts by asking about his history of podcasting on ‘Some Garbage Podcast’ which later became his show Radical Agenda.
Bloch: in your opening statement you told the jury the Radical Agenda is marketed as fiction, correct?
Cantwell: it is
Bloch plays a 33 second clip from the Radical Agenda show of Cantwell introducing his show as “a show about common sense extremism” ; Cantwell agrees its his voice on the show.
Bloch: you use your real name on the show… in 2017 you did the show between 2-3 times a week and had between 10-20,000 followers.. you agree your audience includes some armed extremists?
Cantwell: that’s fair to say
Bloch: you advocate for white nationalism on the Radical Agenda… and you advocate for it seriously?
Bloch: and you are aware what you say can influence people’s behavior?
Bloch pulls up a post where Cantwell wrote “thousands of people listen to what I say” and said that some of his audience would engage in mass shootings if he told them to.
Bloch cites another post where Cantwell says that if he praised the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter “I would see the results plastered all over cable news”
Bloch: you told this jury that you have a disclaimer at the intro to your show… you agree that you had this show without a disclaimer for period of time…you added the disclaimer in July 2017?
Bloch reads Cantwell’s podcast disclaimer: “What follows is a privileged copyrighted fictional, legally protected…” etc
Bloch: you claim you are just an entertainer, right?
Cantwell: I don’t say I’m just an entertainer, but I’m an entertainer…
Bloch plays a clip from Cantwell’s podcast – “the reason I do what I do is to make people angry, they do not see the problem, they are not stirred to violence” and says he wants to get people to “slaughter their enemies”
Bloch: … you advocate violence on the Radical Agenda?
Bloch plays a clip of Cantwell saying on his show “I want you to prepare to hurt people…”
Cantwell is leaning his right elbow on the witness stand, sometimes rubbing his face, seems to be trying to maintain a composed yet leering grin
Bloch plays a clip of neo-nazi ‘weev’ appearing on Cantwell’s show in which ‘weev’ calls for a violent ‘race war’ and applauds racist murderer Dylann Roof. The clip shows Cantwell and ‘weev’ laughing and discussing Dylann Roof shooting up a Black church in Charleston – ‘weev’ says he wants “every loser and has-been to kill as many people as possible” and Cantwell says “that’s a very solid point”…
Bloch: I’d like to talk about what you said on Radical Agenda about running cars into protesters…
Bloch plays a clip where Cantwell mocked Standing Rock #NoDAPL protesters in 2016 and said they should be run over with cars for blocking roads. Bloch shows a Telegram post by Cantwell with an image of a protester in a road where Cantwell advocated for running them over, Cantwell agrees he made the post.
Bloch is asking Cantwell about comments he made where he said drivers would be justified in shooting a police officer right when the officer turns lights on to initiate a traffic stop, Cantwell agrees he made those comments.
Bloch: you yourself at one point considered going on a shooting spree, isn’t that true?
Bloch asks Cantwell about a conversation where he agreed where his focus at a certain point had “shifted from cops to Blacks, Jews etc” – Cantwell claims that comment was made by “someone who doesn’t have my best interests at heart.” Bloch refers to Cantwell’s deposition where he had answered ‘yes’ to the same question.
Cantwell confirms his use of various derogatory slurs and creatively violent terms to refer to Jewish people and violence against Jews when asked by Bloch. Bloch asks Cantwell about a document he wrote called “The Jew is the enemy of the human race” in which he tells Jewish people “your final chapters are already being written.”
Bloch shows/reads the court a Gab post where Cantwell celebrated various nazi mass shooters such as Anders Brevik, Dylann Roof, Robert Bowers and Brenton Tarrant. The post uses various racial slurs and calls for a “pogrom.”
Bloch: You sold copies of Mein Kampf to your listeners in 2017?
Bloch: and you called me a Jew during this litigation?
Cantwell: at least once
Bloch was about to play a clip from a recording of Cantwell’s deposition, Cantwell asks for a sidebar, Judge Moon says he’ll send the jury out for a 20 minute break while he takes this issue up.
Court is resuming now after the break.
Michael Bloch (plaintiffs’ attorney): Mr. Cantwell, one of the things you speak about on Radical Agenda is race, correct?
Christopher Cantwell (defendant/witness): yes
Bloch plays a clip from Cantwell’s Radical Agenda podcast – Cantwell says Black people “are a threat to my fucking existence”
Bloch refers to Cantwell’s opening statements where he claimed not to know his codefendants, then asks about discussions Cantwell had with Richard Spencer in July 2016 where the two discussed a ‘collaboration’.
Cantwell agrees Spencer has been a guest on his show several times. Bloch shows an August 5, 2017 text where Cantwell asked Spencer about getting lunch “with some Radical Agenda listeners.”
Another text from Cantwell to Spencer suggested Spencer use Signal to encrypt texts.
Cantwell and Spencer eventually did get lunch, after Cantwell sent Spencer a text “I’m beginning to suspect you don’t like me.”
Bloch switches to asking Cantwell about Matt Heimbach, who he also claimed not to know. Bloch shows a photo of Cantwell & Heimbach speaking in front of an NSM banner at the April, 2017 Pikeville, Kentucky event. Cantwell’s hat in the pictre says ‘RWDS’ – short for Right Wing Death Squads.
Bloch shows an email sent to Chris Cantwell by codefendant Augustus Invictus that said “Kessler says you can take as much time as you want, bro. It’s your time to shine!” Cantwell agrees with Bloch that this indicated Invictus was speaking for Kessler. In June 2017, Invictus texted Cantwell asking him to speak at Unite The Right & texted him the invite to the Charlottesville 2.0 Discord server. A June 6, 2017 email from Invictus to Cantwell also contained the Discord invite link.
Another email sent to Cantwell invited him to join the Discord server for AltRight dot com, Cantwell replied “Thanks, I’m on there using the name Radical Agenda”
Bloch: “Let’s talk about your communications with Mr. Kessler…”
Bloch shows a June 13, 2017 email from Jason Kessler to Cantwell that refers to a phone call the two had recently had.
Bloch: you continued to communicate with Mr. Kessler throughout the summer about Unite The Right… you communicated with him on Facebook… you texted with him throughout the summer…
Bloch: On July 8, Mr. Kessler texted you “be ready for Charlottesville… it’s gonna be a shitshow”…
Cantwell agrees he promoted Unite The Right on his podcast and website, got lunch with Kessler in July to discuss the rally.
Bloch shows an August 9, 2017 text Jason Kessler sent to Cantwell giving him the phone number for a reporter “to represent Unite The Right” in the media.
Bloch asks Cantwell about his communications with Eliott Kline aka Eli Mosley, Cantwell agrees he understood Kline to be one of the main organizers of Unite The Right.
Despite having told telling in his opening argument the jury that he doesn’t know his codefendants, Cantwell agrees with Bloch that he was roommates with Eliott Kline from late 2018 into 2019.
Bloch: do you agree with me that when you talk about someone whose purpose is to advocate with minority rights, that that is someone you would call a communist?
Cantwell: …communists happen to be the loudest who do that, yes (Bloch refers to Cantwell’s deposition where he answered yes in a simpler fashion to that question.)
Bloch: I wanna talk about some of the advocacy you did in the summer of 2017…
Bloch shows an image from Cantwell’s site – page for 6/17/17 episode ‘Political Violence’ has a graphic of a handgun – the episode came a few days after Cantwell agreed to speak at Unite The Right.
Bloch shows an image of Cantwell speaking at the June 2017 alt-right “free speech” rally in DC – Jason Kessler, Nathan Damigo, Richard Spencer, ‘Baked Alaska’ & flags fro Vanguard America, TWP and Identity Evropa are there.
Bloch pulls up a post Cantwell made on the site Minds.com that advocated for killing all Jewish people in the USA.Another Minds post by Cantwell is shown – in this one he shows graffiti he apparently wrote that says ‘kill a commie save a life’
Bloch shows another social media post Cantwell claims not to remember (it shows his name and his usual profile picture). Cantwell objects, Richard Spencer starts to say “I will add, if I may”, Judge Moon tells Spencer “don’t add.”
Bloch: the general discussion of this topic is ‘free helicopter tours’.. you agree with me that ‘free helicopter tours’ is something you discuss frequently?
Cantwell: I don’t discuss helicopter tours, I sell shirts with a guy getting thrown out of a helicopter..
Bloch: you had an episode of Radical agenda on August 4 2017… if we could play PX-3348A please.. this is the first 39 seconds of that episode…
The clip includes Cantwell talking about “gassing the cosmopolitans (cosmopolitans is often a euphemism for Jews) and talking about going to Charlottesville.
Cantwell laughs when explaining another antisemitic code he used in the opening bit.
Cantwell agrees he had Jason Kessler as a guest on his show shortly before the Charlottesville rally. On that episode Cantwell read quotes published from his work by the Southern Poverty Law Center in the SPLC’s page about him. The quotes’ themes include Cantwell celebrating antisemitism, calling for killing Jews and killing immigrants who don’t speak English. Other quotes Cantwell read on that episode called for using nerve gas on left-wing protesters and saying immigration makes him want to “bash people’s skulls open.”
Bloch: that same day [August 7] you reached out to Richard Spencer
Text records show Cantwell trying to get ahold of Spencer, Spencer blowing Cantwell off, the two text about “the plan” for the rally. Other texts from Cantwell say “I’m willing to risk a lot for our cause, including violence and incarceration…” & Spencer replied “it’s worth it, at least for me.” A later text from Cantwell to Spencer complained about Spencer not giving Cantwell enough attention.
Bloch plays the jury a clip from the VICE News episode about Unite The Right when Cantwell is in his hotel on August 13 showing off all the guns and knives he had brought with him or kept somewhere on his body. Cantwell agrees with Bloch that he also bought a bunch of small batons and canisters of pepper spray that he brought to Charlottesville.
Bloch pulls up Discord DMs between ‘Kurt’ and Cantwell
Kurt says he is “the logistics coordinator for Cville”
Bloch: you testified that Kurt… was affiliated with Spencer?
Cantwell: that was my impression…
Cantwell Discord dm to ‘Kurt’ on August 5, 2017: “Is there a place for vendors to set up … I have a handful of kubatons and pepper sprays I was considering throwing on the table just to grab a few extra bucks and better arm our people…”
Bloch: you agree that you began posting in the Charlottesville 2.0 server in the week before Unite The Right?.. Do you recall posting on August 8 “what do you think about setting up a parallel event somewhere other than Lee Park for women and children“
Cantwell: yeah I remember
Bloch: you talked about setting up a meetup for your followers…
Bloch shows an email between Cantwell & Kessler on August 10, 2017 with the same text Cantwell sent behind his paywall to Radical Agenda listeners about the meetup.
Bloch: in addition to Radical Agenda listeners… you invited some of your codefendants to this meetup – Invictus, Heimbach, Spencer…
Cantwell: yes (Spencer texted Cantwell to say he couldn’t make it)
Bloch refers to a text Cantwell sent to a journalist on August 10 saying “…I’ve got to organize an unknown number of armed extremists I’ve never met…”
Bloch asks Cantwell about the meetup he organized on August 10 and refers to a quote Cantwell said on VICE – “We wanna be separate, if we can’t be separate we need to fight, other races don’t believe in our way of life… separatism or violence.”
Bloch refers Cantwell to texts from Kessler inviting him to the August 11 leadership meeting at Mcintire Park – Jason Kessler, Eliott Kline, Robert ‘Azzmaor’ Ray, Augustus Invictus, David Duke, and Thomas Rousseau were there, Cantwell agrees.
Bloch: you played a portion of that audio from the beginning of that meeting earlier today… you wore that body camera to that meeting… you testified this morning that you asked Mr. Kessler if he knew that you had a body cam on and he said he didn’t…
Bloch plays a portion of Cantwell’s body camera audio from the August 11 Mcintire Park leadership meeting – you can hear Cantwell tell the group “by the way I’m recording…”(Cantwell claims that Kessler arrived after that)
Bloch: you went to Nameless Field for the torch march.. you said that you had the body cam on then… there is no footage from your body camera from either Nameless Field or the torch march… you said that’s because you said it was stolen?
Bloch shows an August 13, 2017 email between Cantwell and ‘Boggs Vandal’ where ‘Boggs’ asks Cantwell for the body camera footage from that night. Cantwell replies apologizing and telling him that the footage was lost.
Bloch shows a video taken from the VICE doc during the torch march showing Cantwell chanting “Jews will not replace us”. More footage is shown that shows Cantwell spraying mace and throwing punches at counter-protesters at the Jefferson statue.
Bloch: in your words you described this as “beating the shit out of” somebody?
Cnatwell: yeah, i was beating the shit out of [name]
Bloch: let’s talk briefly about August 12…you arrived at Emancipation Park sometime between 9-10 AM…
Cantwell:… I arrived late
Bloch: you had one of your handguns with you?
Bloch: at noon the unlawful assembly was declared…
Bloch plays part of the VICE doc that shows a shirtless Cantwell walking with ‘Azzmador’ from the Daily Stormer after the unlawful assembly, Cantwell says “we’ll fucking kill these people if we have to.”
Bloch refers to Cantwell’s deposition testimony where he says he was with Eliott Kline aka Eli Mosley at Mcintire park after the unlawful assembly was declared.
Bloch: …Kessler texted you after the car attack about a leadership meeting…he said “we’re still meeting at the afterparty location… for leaders and essential people only” You say “I can’t make it, I think I should keep a low profile until I know if I’ve got legal problems… keep me posted especially to anything involving law enforcement”
Bloch: You also got a text from Invictus inviting you to the same meeting, you say you’re laying low for legal reasons, he relies “Probably true man, good call.”
Bloch: You texted Mr. Kessler on August 16 saying “I’ve got a warrant outta UVA” and then Mr. Kessler called you – you also texted Mr. Spencer and Mr. Heimbach to tell them that you had a warrant the same day?
Cantwell: sounds right
Bloch: Mr. Heimbach says “let me know what I can do brother, I’ve got your back 100 percent”… do you recall that Mr. Spencer texted you back to “stay strong”?
Cantwell: sounds right
Bloch: this is a text you sent to Eliott Kline on August 23 – “I’m at the Lynchburg magistrate waiting to turn myself in”
Bloch shows the jury a clip from the VICE documentary where Cantwell says “we knew that we were gonna meet a lot of resistance, the fact that nobody on our side died, I’m go ahead and call that points for us, the fact that none of our people killed anybody unjustly…” The VICE clip keeps playing – Cantwell calls the car attack “more than justified” and says “I think a lot more people are gonna die before we’re done here.”
Bloch asks “that was you?” about the VICE clip – Cantwell says “that was excellent television that I put together, yes.”
Bloch plays a clip from an episode of Cantwell’s Radical Agenda show where Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer was a guest. The audio clip played for the jury includes Cantwell calling for “martially inclined guys on our side who are ready to break skulls.”
Bloch: you specifically celebrated the car attack by your codefendant James Fields..?
Cantwell: i think ‘celebrated the car attack’ is not accurate.. I posted memes…
Bloch moves to enter a post into evidence, Cantwell claims to not remember it. Bloch refers to Cantwell’s deposition where he agreed it was a Facebook post he made, Cantwell tries to deny he said that in his deposition. Cantwell raises his voice at Bloch when asking what page of the deposition transcript where he verified the post. Cantwell’s comments today & in his deposition were trying to claim the post wasn’t real because of the image of the screenshot saying it was posted “yesterday.”
The post in question is a meme celebrating the car attack, Cantwell is claiming that the Facebook post was faked in order to make him look bad (even though he has made similar posts and statements countless times)
Bloch: you agree that you testified that this photograph is a photograph you posted on your Facebook (you said ‘yeah’)….
Cantwell: I don’t care about the fucking photo Mike, I don’t give a shit… you’re being an asshole…
Cantwell: I withdraw the objection, give him the thing, I don’t care
Judge Moon: did you make this post?
Cantwell: I don’t recall making this post
Judge Moon: did you say at the deposition you made this post?
Cantwell: I said don’t recall making this post
Bloch reads Cantwell saying “yeah” to this Q in his deposition transcript, Judge Moon reads the line of the transcript where Cantwell said it.
The meme is finally published to the jury – its a picture of the car attack that Cantwell posted with the text “this is what democracy looks like.”
Bloch: in your opening statement you said you thought it was sad that a girl died?
Cantwell: I did
Bloch: and you also referred to Heather Heyer’s grave as a urinal?
Cantwell: I did
Bloch plays another clip from defendant Cantwell’s ‘Radical Agenda’ podcast, reading news quotes about Heather Heyer’s death in a mocking tone before he calls her various derogatory terms. Cantwell goes on to use racial slurs and say even more offensive things about the deceased.
Bloch: did you say that?
Cantwell: I said that
Bloch: When you were in prison, Michael Chesny came to visit you and Eliott Kline… after release you became roommates with Derrick Davis of TWP?
Bloch: you shared a cell block with James Fields?
Cantwell: for 5 minutes…
While Bloch reads Cantwell’s deposition transcript about comments to James fields, Cantwell is flipping through his copy of the transcript without reading it.
Asked by Bloch, Cantwell says he gave a nazi salute and a hug to James Fields during the brief time when they were held in the same block of the jail.
Bloch shows the court a Facebook post where Cantwell wrote “if you think the alt-right is insignificant you might want to ask the bleeding commie filth we sent to the morgue and hospitals how insignificant we are”
Bloch: when you said the “bleeding commie filth we sent to the morgue”, you meant Heather Heyer?
Bloch: nothing more, Judge
Richard Spencer (representing himself) is up to cross-examine Chris Cantwell now.
Spencer: your background is in libertarianism… can you describe some of the literature that inspired you…?
Cantwell: Murray Rothbard, Hans Herman Hoppe…Ludwig Von Mises
Spencer is still asking about libertarian academic stuff, Cantwell mentions Rothbard writing favorably about David Duke.
Cantwell agrees with Spencer that he is a “shock jock”, says his show “Some Garbage Podcast” that turned into Radical Agenda used to play on the radio after Opie & Anthony.
Richard Spencer asks about himself being on the Radical Agenda podcast, Cantwell says he thinks Spencer has been on twice.
Judge Moon interrupts and tells Spencer to ask Qs relevant “to this case.”
Spencer pulls up texts between himself & Cantwell during July 2017. Cantwell’s first text says “Eli gave me your number” and asks to “discuss organization and business when you have time.”
Cantwell says they might have emailed before that but he isn’t sure.
On August 6, 2017 Cantwell wrote to Spencer “I’m beginning to think you don’t like me” two times. Spencer replied “Dude I’ll get back to you, and I like you, friends are over now”
Spencer is scrolling up and down though his & Cantwell’s text history in August 2017.
Cantwell talks about a “business dispute” with The Right Stuff (TRS) podcast (neo-nazis behind that show such as Mike “Enoch” Peinovich also helped organize Unite The Right). Cantwell says he saw “porn megasite” subscriptions as a model for alt-right podcast paywalls and was trying to discuss that with Spencer & the TRS guys.
April 2018 texts between Spencer & Cantwell currently on the screen show Cantwell discussing being out of prison in April 2018 and being ordered to get an alcohol monitor.
Spencer: are you a gun nut?
Spencer: have you ever discussed guns with me?
Cantwell: not that I can recall
Spencer: in your estimation am I a gun nut?
Cantwell: I’ve never seen you hold a gun..
Spencer: ‘Kurt’, who is this Kurt who keeps being brought up in this chat?
Cantwell: I could ask you the same thing…
Spencer: did Kurt show you any credentials or did he merely assert something?
Cantwell: he just sent a message saying I’m Kurt and this is my title
Spencer: do you know of any connection between this Kurt and myself?
Spencer: no further questions
Judge Moon excuses the jury, ends court until 9 AM tomorrow morning.
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