IFA Plaintiffs Have Already Won Adverse Inferences Against Ray; Court Previously Found Him in Contempt and Issued Bench Warrant for His Arrest
With Trial Beginning in Just Two Months, Plaintiffs Seek to Level Evidentiary Playing Field, Establish Key Facts and Evidence Against Ray
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Plaintiffs in Sines v. Kessler — the landmark federal lawsuit backed by Integrity First for America against the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and hate groups responsible for the August 2017 Charlottesville violence — asked the court to grant further evidentiary sanctions against neo-Nazi defendant Robert “Azzmador” Ray.
Ray has spent over three years flouting his discovery obligations, evading Plaintiffs’ multiple attempts to depose him, and repeatedly disobeying court orders. Even after Plaintiffs sought and obtained multiple court orders to compel, Ray failed to provide crucial documentary evidence, all while remaining active on social media.
Plaintiffs have already won adverse inferences against Ray; the court has also found Ray in contempt of court and issued a bench warrant for his arrest. In granting the adverse inferences in March 2021, the court recounted Ray’s repeated and ongoing discovery misconduct and found that it could not interpret Ray’s “continued disregard” for the court and its orders “as anything other than bad faith.” Nearly a year after the court issued a bench warrant for Ray’s arrest, Plaintiffs have still not had an opportunity to depose Ray — who remains a fugitive and has yet to purge himself of contempt.
In this new filing, Plaintiffs request that the Court (1) deem established certain facts related to Ray’s role in the racially-motivated violent conspiracy (listed in Exhibit A) — including that Ray committed acts of intimidation and violence in furtherance of the conspiracy — and (2) deem authentic key evidence including documents, photographs, and videos (also referenced in Exhibit A).
As the Plaintiffs write, “Ray should not be rewarded for his egregious misconduct.” They ask the court to grant these additional sanctions in order to “level the evidentiary playing field and place Plaintiffs in the position in which they would have been absent Ray’s misconduct.”
“Defendants like Ray have tried every trick in the book to avoid accountability for the violence they orchestrated in Charlottesville four years ago,” said Integrity First for America Executive Director Amy Spitalnick. “With trial just two months away, we remain as committed as ever to bringing these violent extremists to justice.”
Trial in Sines v. Kessler is scheduled for October 25, 2021 in federal court in Charlottesville. The lawsuit seeks to hold accountable two dozen white supremacist leaders and hate groups under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 and other federal and state laws. It details a racially-motivated violent conspiracy that was meticulously planned in advance, including via Discord chats that included discussion and memes of hitting protesters with cars.
Ray was one of the most vocal, violent, and central leaders of the attack on Charlottesville. IFA’s lawsuit details how Ray and his fellow defendants meticulously planned the violence for months in advance, including via Discord. At the time of Unite the Right, Ray was a writer for the Daily Stormer, which was the most visited and influential hate site on the internet. Through articles posted on the Daily Stormer, Ray promoted and facilitated the events in Charlottesville in advance of August 2017, including instructing followers to bring tiki torches, pepper spray, and shields. Ray was an active participant on Discord, telling others in advance of the events that he would “be there gassing these people,” referring to counter-protesters, and that Unite the Right was “a war, not a party.”
During the violent weekend itself, Ray marched in the torch march on August 11, 2017, and, as he later openly admitted, used pepper spray to attack counter-protesters. Among extensive evidence detailed in the complaint, Ray shouted, “The heat here is nothing compared to what you’re going to get in the ovens!” while counter-protesters were violently attacked on the University of Virginia campus. The following day, August 12, 2017, Ray took a lead role in directing the action; carried a banner that read, “Gas the k*kes, race war now!”; and later celebrated the violence as a success for the white supremacist movement.
In addition to the prior evidentiary sanctions against Ray, Plaintiffs have already won adverse inferences against three other defendants — Elliot Kline (aka Eli Mosley), Vanguard America, and National Socialist Movement — and have additional pending motions for adverse inferences against James Fields and Matthew Heimbach. The jury will also specifically be instructed to treat as an established fact that Kline “entered into an agreement with one or more co-conspirators” to commit racially-motivated violence in Charlottesville, among other facts. These evidentiary sanctions follow significant monetary sanctions against three key defendants, as well as bench warrants for the arrest of Ray and Kline.
Integrity First for America (IFA) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to holding those accountable who threaten longstanding principles of our democracy — including our country's commitment to civil rights and equal justice. IFA is backing the landmark federal lawsuit against the two dozen neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and hate groups responsible for the August 2017 violence in Charlottesville. Trial is scheduled for October 2021. To learn more about the case, click here.