With Trial in IFA’s Charlottesville Case Just 3 Weeks Away, Plaintiffs Have Now Won Default Judgment Against 7 Defendants
Plaintiffs Have Also Won Extensive Evidentiary and Financial Sanctions – Including Establishing as Fact Core Allegations of Lawsuit Against Two Key Defendants, for Purposes of Case
Trial Begins October 25th in Charlottesville Federal Court
CHARLOTTESVILLE – A federal judge granted plaintiffs’ motion for entry of default against neo-Nazi organization Nationalist Front in Sines v. Kessler—the federal lawsuit backed by Integrity First for America against the individuals and hate groups responsible for the August 2017 Charlottesville violence.
Today’s order comes just three weeks before trial begins on October 25th in federal court in Charlottesville. It follows entries of default judgment against six other defendants, as well as extensive evidentiary and financial sanctions against numerous defendants. In particular, the jury will be instructed to treat as an established fact that two key defendants and organizers of the Unite the Right violence – neo-Nazis Elliot Kline and Robert “Azzmador” Ray – conspired to engage in racially-motivated violence in Charlottesville that weekend, among other key facts.
Nationalist Front was an umbrella organization of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other racist far-right extremists, which sought to achieve unity within the white supremacist movement with a goal of a white ethno-state. The group played a central role in the conspiracy responsible for the Charlottesville violence and, subsequently, refused to take part in this litigation: failing to disclose social media accounts or electronic devices; produce documents or provide meaningful responses to discovery requests; designate a representative; or sit for multiple noticed depositions.
As detailed in the complaint, members of Nationalist Front were core participants in the racist, violent conspiracy that injured plaintiffs during Unite the Right. At the time, Nationalist Front was led by defendants Jeff Schoep (also commander of defendant National Socialist Movement), Matthew Heimbach (also chairman of defendant Traditionalist Worker Party), and Michael Hill (also co-founder and president of defendant League of the South), as well as Dillon Ulysses Hopper (leader of defendant Vanguard America).
At Unite the Right, various Nationalist Front member organizations engaged in violence and intimidated residents of Charlottesville, including joining to “help create two shield walls” for “the fight.” After the violence, defendant Schoep proclaimed on Twitter: “It was an Honor to stand with U all in C’Ville this weekend. NSM, NF, TWP, LOS, VA, ECK, CHS, and the rest, true warriors!”
“Violent extremists have operated with far too much impunity and far too little accountability. But accountability matters, and it makes all the difference – sending a clear message about the consequences for violent hate. With trial just a few weeks away, we’re committed to winning justice in Charlottesville,” said Integrity First for America Executive Director Amy Spitalnick.
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.
Default has already been entered against six other defendants: Andrew Anglin; Moonbase Holdings, LLC; East Coast Knights of the Ku Klux Klan; Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knights; Augustus Sol Invictus; and Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
Plaintiffs have also won extensive financial and evidentiary sanctions, in addition to jail time, against other defendants.
Plaintiffs have won adverse inferences against four defendants — Robert “Azzmador” Ray, 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 be instructed to treat as established fact core allegations against Kline and Ray, as noted above. These evidentiary sanctions follow significant monetary sanctions against Heimbach, Kline, and Vanguard America, as well as bench warrants for the arrest of Kline and Ray.
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.