The Sines v. Kessler defendants are two dozen prominent white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and hate groups that planned, promoted, and executed the violence in Charlottesville. They came with clubs and shields, pistols and assault rifles, helmets and pepper spray — ultimately killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens more, including our plaintiffs. They did not come to protest peacefully; rather, they came to provoke violence. Learn more about the defendants below.
Disclaimer: The information on this page is predominantly from plaintiffs’ amended complaint, which can be read in full here, in addition to research done by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center.
Defendant Jason Kessler is a white nationalist and member of the Proud Boys. A resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, he led the organizing efforts for Unite the Right and was one of the names featured on a promotional poster for the weekend. Kessler founded Unite and Security for America, an organization that claims it is dedicated to “defending Western civilization.” He is also a contributor to far-right websites like VDare.com. Photo: SPLC
Defendant Richard Spencer is the head of the white nationalist “think tank” National Policy Institute. He planned and led the violent torchlight rally at his alma mater, the University of Virginia, on Friday, August 11th. Spencer promoted Unite the Right and encouraged and incited intimidation and racial violence. He has been credited with coining the term “alt-right."
Spencer has said that this lawsuit is “totally detrimental to what I’m doing” and “financially crippling.” Photo: SPLC
Defendant Christopher Cantwell is a white nationalist and self-proclaimed fascist. He hosts a podcast and YouTube show called “Radical Agenda,” and has advocated for violence against Jews and a race war. In the days leading up to Charlottesville, he helped plan and organize the event—and even met with Defendant Kessler on August 9th to plan and direct the unlawful acts of violence, intimidation, and denial of equal protection under the law. After Charlottesville, he was charged with two felony counts of illegal use of tear gas and one felony count of malicious body injury by means of caustic substance.
Cantwell has made numerous vile threats against co-lead counsel Roberta Kaplan, journalists, and others, and was charged with extortion, interstate threats, cyberstalking, and threatening to injure property or reputation in 2020 unrelated to our case. Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar
Defendant James Alex Fields, Jr. is a member of defendant Vanguard America. Motivated by racial, religious, and ethnic animosity — and in furtherance of the defendants’ conspiracy to bring racist violence to Charlottesville — Fields committed an act of domestic terrorism by driving a Dodge Challenger into a crowd of protesters, injuring dozens and killing Heather Heyer. He was indicted on one count of first degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, three counts of aggravated malicious wounding, two counts of felonious assault, and one count of hit and run. Photo: Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail via AP
Defendant Vanguard America is a white supremacist group that, according to the ADL, opposes multiculturalism and believes America should be an entirely white nation. They believe people with “white blood” have a special bond with “American soil” and require that people joining the group be “of at least 80% white/European heritage.” Leading up to Charlottesville, Vanguard America coordinated with co-conspirators to plan, organize, promote, and commit the unlawful acts that injured our plaintiffs and countless others.
Since Unite the Right and following the filing of this lawsuit, Vanguard America members broke off to form the offshoot “Patriot Front” and are known for spreading white supremacist propaganda across the country.
In May 2020, Vanguard America, defendant Heimbach, and defendant Kline were ordered by the court to pay $41,300 in financial penalties after repeatedly flouting court orders. Photo: ADL
Defendant Andrew Anglin is a neo-Nazi and founder of the Daily Stormer — an organization that operates through Anglin’s website, which claims to be the “world’s most genocidal” website. The website, which became the most visited hate site on the internet in 2016, includes sections entitled “Jewish Problem” and “Race War.” The Daily Stormer promoted the Unite the Right “rally” and Anglin organized his followers and prepared them to commit racially motivated violent acts in Charlottesville. Photo: SPLC
Defendant Moonbase Holdings, LLC is a for-profit, limited-liability corporation registered by defendant Anglin that operates the Daily Stormer’s website. Anglin has encouraged readers to financially support the Daily Stormer website by sending donations using bitcoin, checks, and credit cards, noting it will say “Moonbase Holdings” when they donate so it will look “innocuous” on their statement.
Defendant Robert “Azzmador” Ray is a neo-Nazi and writer for the Daily Stormer. He served as an agent of Daily Stormer in organizing the Unite the Right violence. In articles he published on the website, he encouraged extremists to attend the events in Charlottesville on August 11th and 12th and incited them to violence. He attended the “rally” himself and had a planning meeting with other defendants in Charlottesville on August 11th.
Defendant Nathan Damigo is a white nationalist and the founder of the white supremacist organization Identity Evropa (another defendant). He was arrested for assaulting a woman at the “Battle for Berkeley” rally, which Damigo described as a test run for the violence in Charlottesville. Defendant Spencer has stated that Damigo and Identity Evropa took the lead in organizing white supremacist participation among people from outside of Charlottesville in connection with the events on August 11th and 12th. Photo: SPLC
Defendant Elliot Kline, aka Eli Mosley, is a white supremacist who was the leader of Identity Evropa from August to November 2017. He is also a co-founder with Defendant Richard Spencer of Operation Homeland, an organization that aims to take white nationalist activism “to the next level.” He has described himself as the organizer of the Unite the Right “rally.”
In January 2020, Kline was put in jail and ordered to pay additional monetary sanctions after defying multiple court orders. In May 2020, Kline, defendant Vanguard America, and defendant Heimbach were ordered by the court to pay $41,300 in financial penalties after repeatedly flouting court orders. Photo: SPLC
Defendant Identity Evropa — which has rebranded as American Identity Movement — is a white nationalist group that seeks to promote a “white American identity.” The group adopted and popularized the white supremacist slogan, “You will not replace us” that defendants and co-conspirators chanted as they marched on August 11th and 12th. Leading up to Charlottesville, Identity Evropa coordinated with co-conspirators to plan, organize, promote, and commit the unlawful acts that injured our plaintiffs and countless others. Photo: ADL
Defendant Matthew Heimbach is a neo-Nazi and, at the time of Unite the Right, was the chairman of defendant Traditionalist Worker Party. In 2013, Heimbach and defendant Matthew Parrott founded the neo-Nazi group Traditionalist Youth Network, which promotes a racist interpretation of Christianity. Alongside defendant Jeff Schoep, Heimbach co-chaired the Nationalist Front, an umbrella organization of approximately twenty white supremacist groups including Klan and neo-Nazi groups. He organized and led marchers from TWP on August 12th and has said he looks up to men like Hitler.
In May 2020, Heimbach, Vanguard America, and defendant Kline were ordered by the court to pay $41,300 in financial penalties after repeatedly flouting court orders. Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar
Defendant Matthew Parrott co-founded the neo-Nazi group Traditionalist Youth Network along with defendant Matthew Heimbach. He was the CIO and Director of Defendant TWP. On August 12th, Parrott refused to leave Emancipation Park after a state of emergency was declared and was arrested by police for failing to disperse. He wrote an account of his experience in Charlottesville called “Catcher in the Reich: My Account of my Experiences in Charlottesville,” noting in it that defendants TWP, League of the South, NSM, and other Nationalist Front groups joined together to “help create two shield walls” for “the fight.” Photo: AJ Mast for The Washington Post
At the time of Unite the Right, Defendant Traditionalist Worker Party was a neo-Nazi group and national political party that promoted anti-Semitism, created by defendants Heimbach and Parrott. Members of TWP promoted, attended, and fully participated in the events in Charlottesville on August 11th and 12th, including by engaging in violence. Photo: Caitie Mcmekin/News Sentinel
Defendant Michael Hill is the co-founder and President of defendant League of the South. In 2014, Hill and League of the South announced the formation of an armed paramilitary unit dubbed “the Indomitables,” tasked with advancing Southern secession by any means necessary. He encouraged League of the South followers to attend the Unite the Right “rally” by urging them not to “miss out on the fun” in dealing with counter-protestors. Ahead of the violence, Hill posted on the League of the South Facebook group that he wanted “no fewer than 150 League warriors, dressed and ready for action, in Charlottesville, Virginia, on 12 August.” Photo: Justin Ide/Reuters
Defendant Michael Tubbs is the “Chief of Staff” of defendant League of the South. Tubbs is captured on a video from August 12th ordering League of the South to attack by yelling “charge!” Defendant Hill later boasted that “Mr. Tubbs was everywhere the chaos was.” Photo: SPLC
Defendant League of the South is a white supremacist group that advocates Southern secession. Numerous members of League of the South participated in the violent events together with co-defendants.
Defendant Hill blamed our suit when League of the South could not open a new building: “I want us to have a new League building in Alabama...But because of pending lawsuits, we are not going to be moving forward officially with fundraising at this time.” Photo: SPLC
Defendant Jeff Schoep is a neo-Nazi and the former leader of defendant National Socialist Movement. In 2016, Schoep formed the Aryan Nationalist Alliance, later renamed Nationalist Front, which was the umbrella organization for hate groups such as the TWP and regional faction of the KKK during Unite the Right. He actively participated in the violence on August 11th and 12th, along with his fellow NSM members.
In May 2020, the court fully granted plaintiffs’ motion to compel discovery from Schoep — who has repeatedly tried to avoid accountability. Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters
Defendant National Socialist Movement is one of the largest neo-Nazi group in the country, known for its violent anti-Semitic rhetoric. Members of NSM voluntarily joined the organization for the common purpose of promoting a “greater America” that would deny citizenship to Jews, non-whites, and LGBTQ persons. Members of NSM participated in the violence that took place on August 11th and 12th.
In June 2020, the court fully granted plaintiffs’ motion to compel discovery from NSM after various attempts by NSM, former commander Schoep, and current commander Burt Colucci to avoid accountability. Photo: SPLC
At the time of Unite the Right, Defendant Nationalist Front was an umbrella organization that consists of white supremacist and white nationalist groups, formed by defendant Schoep. The Nationalist Front was conceived to be “the thread that would unite white supremacist and white nationalist circles.” Various members engaged in acts of violence and intimidated residents of Charlottesville on August 11th and 12th. Photo: SPLC
Defendant Augustus Sol Invictus is a white nationalist, white supremacist, and member of defendant Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knights (“FOAK”), the “military wing” of the Proud Boys, a group for men who “refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.” Invictus was featured on a promotional poster for the “rally,” drafted the “Charlottesville statement” along with defendant Spencer and others, and participated in the violent torchlit rally on August 11th. Photo: Brevard County Sheriff via The Daily Beast
Defendant Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knights is a self-described “tactical defensive arm” of the Proud Boys. Defendant Invictus was second in command at FOAK and FOAK attended the “rally” in part to provide security to him. Photo: SPLC
Defendant Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is one of the largest and most active Klan groups in the United States. Members voluntarily joined the organization for the common purpose of promoting white nationalism and white supremacy. The association only accepts “native-born white American Citizen[s]” as members. Leading up to Charlottesville, Loyal White Knights of the KKK coordinated with co-conspirators to plan, organize, promote, and commit the unlawful acts that injured our plaintiffs and countless others.
After the events in Charlottesville, they changed their outgoing voicemail message to a racist message praising defendant Fields for running over counter-protesters and killing Heather Heyer. They said, “It’s men like you that have made the great white race strong and will be strong again.” Photo: ADL
Defendant East Coast Knights of the Ku Klux Klan aka East Coast Knights of the True Invisible Empire is a white supremacist Klan group active in several states. Members voluntarily join the organization for the common purpose of promoting white nationalism and white supremacy. The East Coast Knights was a key participant in the July 8th, 2017 Klan rally, and conspired with the Nationalist Front and other defendants to organize and participate in the violent events of August 12th.