The Charlottesville Case

Once in a generation, there is a trial that fundamentally changes our nation. We're taking on the leadership of the violent white nationalist movement in court -- sending a clear message that violent hate has no place in our country.

In August 2017, hundreds of white supremacists and neo-Nazis invaded Charlottesville, Virginia. This was not a peaceful protest but, rather, a meticulously planned conspiracy to bring violence to Charlottesville -- the result of months of online organizing, fueled by bigotry and hatred.

On August 11th, they marched with torches and surrounded a group of students and community members on the University of Virginia campus. White supremacists pushed, punched, and threw lighted torches. They chanted "Jews will not replace us," "blood and soil," and "this is our town now." Religious leaders at a nearby church sheltered in place fearing that they would be next.

On August 12th, these white supremacists and neo-Nazis marched military-style to Emancipation Park, shouting racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic slurs and carrying swastikas and other Nazi symbols. They charged through a line of interfaith clergy. They attacked and assaulted countless citizens. After police dispersed them, James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

With this lawsuit, Charlottesville is fighting back. The court has already rejected the defendants' efforts to block this suit and trial has been set for October 2020.

IFA's suit -- Sines v. Kessler -- is the only current legal effort to take on the vast leadership of the violent white nationalist movement. It sends a message to every hate group in the country: Americans will not give in to violence and hate. We will defend the dignity and equality of all people. And we will ensure this never happens again.

Timeline

November 27, 2019: October 2020 Trial Date Set in Integrity First For America's Landmark Charlottesville Suit

A federal judge ordered a trial date and final discovery schedule in Integrity First for America’s landmark lawsuit against the extremist leaders and groups responsible for the August 2017 violence.

September 17, 2019: Court Grants Motion To Add Thomas Baker As Plaintiff

The federal court granted plaintiffs' motion to add Thomas Baker as a plaintiff in the suit. Click here to read the amended complaint.

August 09, 2019: Federal Court Sanctions Defendants Elliot Kline (aka Eli Mosley), Matthew Heimbach, and Vanguard America

The court sanctioned defendants Kline, Heimbach, and Vanguard America, requiring them to pay plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and leaving the door open to even harsher penalties.

April 29, 2019: Federal Court Sanctions Defendant Jeff Schoep

The court requires defendant Schoep to turn over critical evidence.

April 12, 2019: Plaintiffs File Motion for Sanctions Against White Supremacist Group Vanguard America

Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Sanctions against Defendant Vanguard America. 

April 03, 2019: Plaintiffs File Motion for Sanctions Against Elliott Klein and Matthew Heimbach

Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Sanctions against Defendants Elliott Klein (a/k/a Eli Mosley) and Matthew Heimbach, citing Defendants' failure to comply with court orders.

February 19, 2019: Federal Judge Denies Motion to Quash Subpoenas to Twitter and Platforms

Judge Norman K. Moon denied a motion to block Twitter, GoDaddy.com, Cloudfare, and Hatreon from complying with plaintiff's subpoenas, which seek evidence related to the defendants coordination and planning of racially-motivated violence.

February 14, 2019: Court Rules Plaintiffs can Proceed with Litigation Despite Bankruptcy Claims

A California bankruptcy court ruled that defendant Nathan Damigo cannot avoid liability under Sines v. Kessler, despite his bankrupty claims.

November 13, 2018: Court Allows Discovery to Proceed with Imaging of Defendants' Devices and Social Media Accounts

In an important victory for Plaintiffs, the court compelled Defendants to hand over devices and social media accounts to be imaged, a critical step in the discovery process.

July 09, 2018: Court Rejects Defendants' Motions to Dismiss

In a "huge victory" for Plaintiffs, the federal district court issued a 62-page decision rejecting Defendants' motions to dismiss.

May 24, 2018: Arguments on Motions to Dismiss

The federal district court in Charlottesville heard oral arguments on Defendants' motions to dismiss the case.

May 17, 2018: David Duke Ordered to Produce Documents

A federal court in Louisiana ordered former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, a non-party, to produce documents in response to Plaintiffs' subpoena.

March 15, 2018: Default Entered Against Five Defendants

Plaintiffs obtained entries of default against five defendants, including neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin and the East Coast Knights of the KKK.

January 05, 2018: Amended Complaint Filed

Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, including two new named plaintiffs who were injured by Defendant James Alex Fields.

October 11, 2017: Complaint Filed

Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against white supremacists and hate groups for conspiring and causing violence in Charlottesville. The complaint alleged violations of the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act and various state laws.

The Plaintiffs

Plaintiffs are ten members of the Charlottesville community. They include parents and students, businesspeople, a Christian minister, and others who peacefully protested when white supremacists invaded their hometown. Plaintiffs were specifically targeted on the basis of their race, religion, and ethnicity or because they stood up for the safety and civil rights of others. Plaintiffs were injured by the Defendants, including three who were hurt when James Alex Fields, Jr., drove his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters. As stated in the Complaint, Plaintiffs hope "to ensure that nothing like this will happen again at the hands of Defendants—not on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, and not anywhere else in the United States of America."

Charlottesville Residents Decry White Supremacist Rally

The Defendants

Defendants are two dozen prominent white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and hate groups that planned, promoted, and executed the violent acts in Charlottesville. They came with clubs and shields, pistols and assault rifles, helmets and pepper spray. Defendants killed one woman and injured dozens more. They did not come to protest peacefully. They came with a plan to provoke violence.

Defendants include Jason Kessler, a white nationalist who led the organizing efforts; Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who believes in "ethnic cleansing"; Matthew Heimbach, a white nationalist who said, "Of course we look up to men like Adolf Hitler"; and James Alex Fields Jr., who drove the car that killed Heather Heyer; as well as hate groups like the Traditionalist Worker Party, Identity Evropa, and the League of the South.

Loyal White Knights Rally

The Legal Case

After the Civil War, Congress passed laws to guarantee the civil rights of black Americans and combat the Ku Klux Klan’s reign of terror in the South. In their complaint, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants, motivated by racism and bigotry, conspired to commit assault, battery, and other acts of violence and intimidation in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the KKK Act of 1871, and numerous Virginia laws. Plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.

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10,000 Voices for Charlottesville

Our lawsuit against the Nazis and white supremacists who attacked Charlottesville is headed to trial — and our plaintiffs need to know we have their backs.