Man charged in white nationalist rally to argue self-defense

27 Novembre, 2018, 08:59 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Man charged in white nationalist rally to argue self-defense

Unite the Right, called to oppose Charlottesville's decision to remove a Confederate statue, was the largest white nationalist rally in the USA in recent decades. Hundreds more showed up to protest against the white nationalists.

The two sides began brawling before the rally got underway, throwing punches, setting off smoke bombs and unleashing chemical sprays.

Afterward, President Donald Trump enflamed racial tensions when he said "both sides" were to blame, a comment some saw as a refusal to condemn racism.

Lawyer John Hill told prospective jurors, according to the Associated Press, that they would hear evidence that the defendant "thought he was acting in self-defense".

Judge Moore said 12 jurors and four alternates would be chosen to hear the case, which could last until December 13.

Earlier in the day, Fields was photographed marching with Vanguard America, a neo-Nazi group, during the rally.

According to his federal hate crimes indictment, Fields had multiple social media accounts where he expressed support for white supremacism as well as the racial policies of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, and advocated violence against black people and Jews.

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Pretrial hearings have offered few insights into Fields.

Federal prosecutors in June charged Fields with one count of a hate crime act resulting in Heyer's death, 28 counts of hate crime acts causing bodily injury and involving an attempt to kill, and one count of racially motivated violent interference with a federally protected activity for driving his auto into a crowd of protesters. Fields later told a judge he is being treated for bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression and ADHD.

Circuit Court Judge Richard E. Moore told a large group of prospective jurors that the trial could last up to three weeks.

On Monday, Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Joseph Platania emphasized to prospective jurors that prosecutors were not seeking a death sentence on the state charges. By 2:30 p.m., only about nine people out of a group of 28 had been questioned. Moore did not grant the motion, but indicated it could be revisited if finding an impartial jury in Charlottesville proved hard.

Another woman's leg was crushed in the incident. She sat quietly in the courtroom Monday watching the proceedings.

Moore said 12 jurors and four alternate jurors will be chosen.

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