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Jury hears opening statements in Sines vs. Kessler case

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 5:20 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A civil lawsuit in Charlottesville’s federal courthouse began with opening statements Thursday, October 28.

The case, Sines vs. Kessler, involves those who claim organizers of the 2017 Unite the Right rally caused them physical and emotional harm. Twelve jurors will decide whether those organizers - which the lawsuit includes Jason Kessler, Christopher Cantwell, and Richard Spencer - knew the events around Charlottesville would turn violent.

Using emotional videos of the violence in connection with the rally, the plaintiffs recapped the events of August 11 and 12, 2017.

Cantwell, a white nationalist, took the stand in his own defense. He inferred all men are not created equal and used racial slurs in his opening statements.

Spencer, a white supremacist, was seen carrying a stuffed animal into the courtroom Thursday. He told the court he had regrets about being involved in the rally and hoped the jury will give, “a bad guy a fair shake.”

All defendants in the case attempted to distance themselves from one another, separately arguing they had little or no communication. However, plaintiffs are expected to present evidence of messages sent from those who participated in the rally.

People from Charlottesville and counter protesters filed the civil lawsuit. They are seeking damages for the physical and emotional injuries they suffered.

RELATED: Jury seated in civil trial over Unite the Right rally

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