Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar

Cantwell Sentenced to 41 Months After He Was Found Guilty of Extortion and Threats 

Cantwell Still Faces Trial this Fall in IFA’s Charlottesville Suit for His Role Orchestrating the August 2017 Violence; His Threats Against Lead Counsel Roberta Kaplan Were Recently Detailed in a Letter to the Court 

Today, neo-Nazi Christopher Cantwell was sentenced to 41 months in prison after he was found guilty by a New Hampshire jury of extortion and threats. Cantwell is also a defendant in Integrity First for America’s Charlottesville lawsuit for his role orchestrating the August 2017 violence; he will face trial in federal court in Charlottesville this October.

“Violence and bigotry are at the core of how Christopher Cantwell operates. We saw his own capacity for violence firsthand in Charlottesville – and just as concerning is his ability to weaponize his followers, inspiring them to violent action. We are all safer with Cantwell in prison,” said IFA Executive Director Amy Spitalnick. “However, justice has not yet been fully served. Our plaintiffs are committed to holding Cantwell accountable at trial this fall for the racist violence he brought to Charlottesville.”

IFA’s suit, brought on behalf of a coalition of Charlottesville community members injured, alleges that Cantwell and his co-defendants orchestrated a racially-motivated violent conspiracy. The suit details how Cantwell and the nearly two dozen other defendants planned the violence for months in advance. Trial is scheduled for October 2021.

Before the Charlottesville violence, Cantwell had urged his followers to join him in a race war and in “gas[sing] the k*kes.” After conspiring with his fellow defendants in person and online via the social media platform Discord in order to direct unlawful acts of violence, intimidation, and denial of equal protection, Cantwell marched on Charlottesville screaming things like, “Jews will not replace us!” as he terrorized students and employees on the University of Virginia campus on August 11, 2017. He followed through on his threat and assaulted counter-protesters and passersby with illegal gas.

The following day, as he continued to terrorize the residents of Charlottesville, Cantwell said to his co-conspirators, “We’ll f*cking kill these people if we have to.” He was subsequently arrested for multiple felonies, including for maliciously causing bodily injury to a counter-protestor by dispensing a caustic substance.

Cantwell’s violent threats have only escalated since the events in Charlottesville. He has likened himself to the perpetrators of mass shootings and advocated for the mass murder of those with opposing political views.

In July 2019, just two days after the threat for which he was sentenced today, Cantwell used the same social media platform (Telegram) to threaten Roberta Kaplan, lead counsel for the plaintiffs in IFA’s suit. In response to an article in a Jewish publication about the case and Kaplan, Cantwell wrote. “After this stupid k*ke whore loses this fraudulent lawsuit, we’re going to have a lot of f*cking fun with her.”

Kaplan detailed the threats in a recent letter to the court, available here. As Kaplan wrote, “One thing that the events of Charlottesville have taught us is that Mr. Cantwell’s threats cannot and should not be dismissed as idle chat since in Charlottesville, his violent rhetoric turned into violent action.”

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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. To learn more about the case, click here.

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