5 guilty of traffic violations during rally-related protest

Updated: Jul. 20, 2018 at 1:05 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Five people who were arrested in June while protesting a 20-day jail sentence for a black man using a makeshift flamethrower during a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year have been found guilty of committing traffic violations.

A local lawyer representing the five people tells news outlets they were found guilty Thursday in Charlottesville General District Court. They each received a $15 fine.

Defense attorney Jeff Fogel says they entered Alford pleas to the misdemeanor charges of stepping in the road. In an Alford plea, the accused doesn't admit guilt but concedes the prosecution has sufficient evidence to secure a guilty verdict.

Fogel says the protesters were engaging in free speech and the judge indicated that was a mitigating factor in the sentencing.

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