‘Unite the Right’ Organizers Found Liable for Charlottesville Deaths

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Despite deadlocking on two federal conspiracy charges, jurors found the main organizers of the deadly far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 liable under state law for injuries to counterprotesters, awarding more than $25 million in damage, reports the New York Times. The mix of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Confederate sympathizers were found under Virginia law to have engaged in a conspiracy that led to injuries during the rally and the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer when she was struck by a car driven by one of the defendants.

The plaintiffs, whose injuries included concussions and a shattered leg, testified that they suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, the inability to concentrate, flashbacks and panic attacks. The largest sums were awarded for punitive damages, with 12 individuals ordered to pay $500,000 apiece while five white nationalist organizations were assessed $1 million each. Any punitive damages paid will be divided evenly among the plaintiffs. James Fields, already serving multiple life sentences for murdering the counterprotester with his car, was found liable for $12 million in punitive damages, as well as for hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses stemming from assault, battery and emotional distress. Lawyers for the far-right organizers said they would seek to reduce those amounts, and there was little chance that their clients could pay in any event.

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