A federal jury has awarded over $25 million in damages to plaintiffs in a civil case involving white supremacists who organized the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
After deliberating for over three days following nearly four weeks of testimony, the jury reached a partial verdict, finding each of the 12 defendants liable for $500,000 in punitive damages on the claim that they violated Virginia’s civil conspiracy law.
The jury also found five white nationalist organizations liable for $1 million each.
However, the jury could not agree on the most serious claims, finding themselves in a deadlock on whether the defendants conspired to commit racially motivated violence under the so-called Ku Klux Klan Act.
Still, plaintiffs’ attorneys Roberta Kaplan and Karen Dunn said that they were “thrilled” that the verdict was “in favor of our plaintiffs, giving them the justice they deserve.”
“Today’s verdict sends a loud and clear message that facts matter, the law matters, and that the laws of this country will not tolerate the use of violence to deprive racial and religious minorities of the basic right we all share to live as free and equal citizens,” Kaplan and Dunn said in a statement.
Kaplan and Dunn also announced that they would re-try the first two counts to determine defendants conspired to commit racially motivated violence under federal law.
Integrity First for America (IFA), a nonprofit civil rights organization which funded the lawsuit, also praised the jury’s decision despite its partial verdict.
“At a moment of rising extremism, major threats to our democracy, and far too little justice, this case has provided a model for accountability,” IFA Executive Director Amy Spitalnick said.
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