They also tried to pass off some of their remarks as humor, which, according to the plaintiffs’ expert witness, Peter Simi was a common tactic by far-right supporters trying to disguise their goal of sparking a new civil war to create a white home country.
What’s your favorite Holocaust joke? Mr. Cantwell, who was acting as his own lawyer, asked Matthew Heimbach, the former leader of the neo-Nazi organization, as a witness. “My favorite?” said Mr Heimbach, who denied the Holocaust.
Understand the Charlottesville Rally trial
The defendants openly called themselves racists.
Some of the defendants brazenly admitted their animosity towards blacks, Jews and other minorities, as well as their admiration for Adolf Hitler. The derogatory insults they used to describe minorities have recurred in their testimonies.
Michael Hill, 69, president of the League of the South, an organization similar to the Ku Klux Klan, was asked to read part of a promise he posted on the group’s website. “I vow to be a white supremacist, racist, anti-Semite, homophobe, xenophobe, Islamophobe and any other phobias that benefit my people, God help me,” Mr. Hill read, confessing, “I still adhere to these views. … “
Nathan Damigo, the former head of a white nationalist group called Identity Europa, which renamed itself the American Identity Movement after Charlottesville, said he was racist. When the lawyer who interrogated him insisted on this, his lawyer James Kolenich objected. “He’s already called himself a racist,” said Mr. Kolenich.
Legally, a conspiracy does not require people to get together.
Both the plaintiffs’ lawyers and the judge stressed that in a civil case, compliance with the legal rules for conspiracy does not require a formal agreement between the parties or even that they know each other. But the violence had to be foreseen, lawyers said, highlighting numerous social media posts in which organizers predicted violent clashes with antifa and other opponents.
Jason Kessler, the main organizer of the rally, wrote that he was building an army for the Battle of Charlottesville, for example, wrote under a pseudonym that participants should not openly carry weapons. “I don’t want to scare the antifa off the first blow, I want them to start something.”