Jury awards $25M in damages for Unite the Right violence

By DENISE LAVOIE AP Legal Affairs Writer

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A jury ordered white nationalist leaders and organizations to pay more than $25 million in damages Tuesday over violence that erupted during the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.

After a nearly monthlong civil trial, the jury in U.S. District Court deadlocked on two key claims but found the white nationalists liable on four other counts in the lawsuit filed by nine people who suffered physical or emotional injuries during the two days of demonstrations.

Attorney Roberta Kaplan said the plaintiffs’ lawyers plan to refile the suit so a new jury can decide the two claims this jury could not reach a verdict on. She called the amount of damages awarded from the others counts “eye opening”

“That sends a loud message,” Kaplan said.

The verdict, though mixed, is a rebuke to the white nationalist movement, particularly for the two dozen individuals and organizations who were accused in a federal lawsuit of orchestrating violence against African Americans, Jews and others in a meticulously planned conspiracy.

White nationalist leader Richard Spencer vowed to appeal, saying the “entire theory of that verdict is fundamentally flawed.”

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