(Courthouse News Service) – U.S. District Judge Richie Felker in Charlottesville told lawyers on both sides that they might consider settling for a civil judgment if they still wish to do so after trial begins next week.
On Oct. 26, a jury of six women and three men in the eastern district of Virginia ended a contentious hearing with a decision to postpone opening statements until Nov. 13, more than a month after the scheduled start date. That date will give the U.S. District Court jury time to review an extensive database of about 120 hours of video and audio played in court, including tens of thousands of emails between alt-right and white supremacist activists and associated news outlets, new documents and some 120 hours of jury instructions.
The civil trial will serve as the first test of a 2016 law that allows people to sue for damages in federal court when government officials including their elected officials permitted unlawful law-enforcement activities.
The case against Lucas Overby, 37, of Virginia Beach, may be the first chance for internet users to quantify the damage caused by the organized violence at the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally.
Lawyers for the other defendants in the case – the city of Charlottesville, city employees and Charlottesville police – will likely argue that the group with which they are associated did not organize, promote or incite the violence at the Aug. 12 rally.
The event, sponsored by the right-wing group Identity Evropa, attracted members of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, white nationalists and other extreme right-wing extremists, who fought with police and engaged in violent confrontations with counter-protesters.
Hours before the rally, a biker gang called the “Alt-right” gathered at a private home on the outskirts of town, where one of its leaders, 32-year-old James Fields Jr., fatally struck Heather Heyer, 32, a protester, with his Dodge Challenger.
That led to a trial in federal court and questions about the effectiveness of the right-wing movement to challenge mainstream politicians.
Some of the defendants facing trial in the case lost parts of the right to their houses as part of a settlement in which other counter-protesters agreed to pay the defendants for damages they suffered in the rioting.
At stake for the civil defendants is $60 million in potential damages. DiManno and her parents are seeking $40 million of that total, along with $10 million for punitive damages.
My true thoughts while Charles Hatfield was on the stand:
Part two, the weekend of the violent Charlottesville protest:
(CW) ©2019 the People’s World
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