Judge Denies Bid to Move Trial Over White Nationalist Rally

Confederate Monuments Protest
AP Photo/Steve Helber

A federal judge on Friday denied a request to move the trial in a lawsuit filed against organizers of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally out of Charlottesville.

U.S. District Court Judge Norman Moon first floated the idea of moving the trial during a telephone conference in the case earlier this month, citing potential logistical and safety issues associated with holding the trial in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville. After that hearing, the defendants in the case filed motions supporting transferring the trial to either Lynchburg or Roanoke.

In a ruling Friday, Moon rejected the transfer, noting that many of the plaintiffs lived, worked and studied in Charlottesville, where they allege they were injured. The judge also said convenience for the parties and the witnesses weighed in favor of keeping the trial in Charlottesville.

“The Court finds that the interests of justice factor continues to support holding this trial in Charlottesville rather than transferring it, so that the trial may take place in the community most directly affected by the Unite the Right rally,” Moon wrote in his ruling.

Violent street clashes broke out in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017, before a man fascinated with Adolf Hitler plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing a woman. Lawyers for victims of the violence sued several far-right extremist groups and individuals who participated in the event, which was organized in part to protest the city’s planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The trial is scheduled for October.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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