On Tuesday (November 23), a jury found that all defendants in the Unite the Right civil trial violated two claims and ordered them to pay millions in damages.
According to CNN, the jury found that the defendants violated a Virginia state conspiracy law and awarded the plaintiffs $11 million in punitive damages. Each individual defendant, including white nationalist Richard Spencer, Jason Kessley, Christopher Cantwell and Matthew Heimbach, are each liable for paying out $500,000. The five organizations are liable for $1 million each.
On one claim, the jury found the five defendants liable for violating a state law prohibiting racial, ethnic or religious harassment or violence. However, the jury could not reach a verdict on two federal conspiracy claims. The first federal conspiracy claim alleged the defendants conspired to commit racially motivated violence and the second claimed the defendants had knowledge of a conspiracy and failed to prevent it, CNN reports.
The jury awarded the money to nine people who suffered physical or emotional injuries.
The plaintiffs' attorneys Roberta Kaplan and Karen Dunn said in a statement, "We are thrilled that the jury has delivered a verdict in favor of our plaintiffs, finally giving them the justice they deserve after the horrific weekend of violence and intimidation in August 2017.”
The statement continued, "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."
The Unite the Right rally was held in Charlottesville, Virginia from August 11 to 12, 2017 by white supremacists with an aim of protesting the removal of a statue honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee.