The highlight of Thursday and Friday’s proceedings in Sines v Kessler was watching pro se defendant Christopher Cantwell and TWP defense attorney Josh Smith break down plaintiffs’ expert witness Peter “the Mind Reader” Simi, an Antifa activist and sociologist who claims expertise in the “coded language of White supremacy.”
Thursday in particular was another embarrassing day for the plaintiffs, as Cantwell and Smith, among others for the defense, showed Simi to be an anti-White, pro-Antifa activist who interprets every communication by White nationalists as inseparable from violence. This came despite repeated objections by Jewish activist attorney for the plaintiffs, Roberta Kaplan, who U.S. District Court Judge Norman K. Moon repeatedly overruled.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys brought on a series of plaintiffs who claimed injuries despite not being involved in the James Fields car accident or scuffles at the Unite the Right events Aug. 11-12, 2017. Aside from Simi, the also brought on another expert witness Friday who detailed her projected care plans for those with physical injuries, claiming outrageous care costs running to the millions of dollars.
And as has been the emerging trend these past three weeks, plaintiffs’ witnesses were maudlin and theatrical about what they claimed they saw, portraying the counter-protesters as innocent, unarmed students, mothers, and community members present simply to observe the rally or to peacefully make a show of support, while portraying the legally permitted rally-goers as snarling, armed animals attacking anyone within sight.
Plaintiffs made absolutely no progress on establishing any kind of conspiracy, which is at the heart of this civil lawsuit.
The most compelling moments of the last two days of the week came Thursday afternoon. After a morning of Simi testifying such things as how the 14 Words – "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children" – are an inherent threat of violence and anti-Semitic, or how White nationalism is inherently violent, the various members of the defense exposed him as irredeemably biased, pretending that all jokes are cover for violent intent, and that the words of White nationalists mean what he says, not what they say.
Simi made various untrue statements under oath, including that he wasn’t associated with Antifa – even though he follows more than a dozen specifically Antifa accounts on Twitter including credibly accused sexual abuser Christian “AntiFash Gordon” Exoo, and that he has never been paid by the Anti-Defamation League, even though he has been a paid speaker at ADL conferences.
He also noted that he is being paid $30,000 by the anti-White activist organization Integrity First for America for his one day on the stand, which can’t sit well with a jury that likely includes several people who don’t make that much in a year.
Elizabeth Sines, the eponymous plaintiff in the case, took the stand Friday. Even though she has no injuries, she too is claiming damages. She said she was so traumatized by the torch march on Friday night that she made immediate plans to go to the rally on Saturday.
She came across as a privileged elitist harmed by the mere sight of “Nazi” imagery, leaning heavily on the race of her Asian friend who was with her, to further virtue signal.
Sines made claims no one else has, and for which there is no evidence, such as how marchers on Friday “dragged counter-protesters away” from the Thomas Jefferson statue to beat them, and how marchers attacked counter-protesters with Tiki torches.
Notably, Sines sent financial payments to future members of Judge Moon’s staff including Hutton Marshall in the months before she filed her lawsuit.
On cross, Cantwell showed Sines video from her own livestream from Aug. 12 where the “innocent students” she was marching with were chanting “Antifascista!” – an Antifa chant.
As that video played, Cantwell danced to it, which brought a hilarious objection from Kaplan.
“I understand this may be entertaining to Mr. Cantwell, but it's a form of badgering the witness,” she said.
Cantwell was relentless in his cross of Sines.
Sines testified that she doesn’t “know about Antifa or if they are a group or anything,” even though she attended a meeting of the far left, pro-Antifa National Lawyers Guild, which provides legal aid to communists and Antifa who break the law in direct action tactics.
She said that she wasn’t aware of the National Lawyers Guild on Aug. 12, 2017, which is an outright falsehood as she was an observer for the National Lawyers Guild on Aug. 12.
She testified she saw no counter-protesters with weapons, and then Cantwell showed images of her marching with Louisville Anti-Racist Action founder Sean Liter, who was carrying a large club.
Other members of the crowd Sines was marching with were covering their faces and carrying weapons like metal poles without flags.
On the video, she can be heard saying, “Josh if you’re seeing this, we may need to come to your house.”
Cantwell asked, “Who’s Josh?”
“Josh” is Judge Moon’s law clerk Joshua Lefebvre, a fact that Judge Moon did not allow the jury to hear.
Cantwell said that Sines deleted her livestream of Aug. 12 after someone posted a screenshot of her marching with someone carrying a weapon. She said she deleted it because it was too graphic, and then later said it was because she was sobbing and didn’t want her family to see it.
As with Sines, plaintiff April Muniz took the stand Thursday and gave tearful testimony, saying counter-protesters were peaceful and unarmed, which Cantwell on cross-examination showed was absolutely untrue, pointing out dozens of armed Antifa all around Muniz.
Particularly of note, both Sines and Muniz said on the stand at the start of their testimony that they wanted to sue UTR organizers not to get personal damages, but rather for the grander purpose to punish White nationalists and disrupt their future political activities.
Basically, both admitted that this is a SLAPP lawsuit, a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. These damaging suits chill free speech and healthy debate by targeting those who exercise their First Amendment rights. SLAPPs are used to silence and harass critics by forcing them to spend money to defend these baseless suits.
The balance of the afternoon was spent with plaintiffs’ attorneys questioning former National Socialist Movement leader Jeff Schoep to the point of tedium, establishing that the NSM were part of the organizing structure for UTR but little else.
The day ended with the usual cross-examination from defendants and attorneys.
Dharma King, a co-host on The Third Rail, who has been observing the trial alongside National-Justice, had this analysis of the trial as the third week ended:
The Charlottesville trial (Sines v. Kessler) is, among other things, an encapsulation of the United States as a whole. In some ways, the plaintiffs and the defendants do not actually disagree on much. Despite claiming the existence of a “conspiracy to commit racially-motivated violence,” the plaintiffs have done basically nothing to establish the existence of any such conspiracy, and their own witnesses have repeatedly testified under oath that the various organizers of the Unite The Right rally (some of whom are numbered among the defendants, many of whom are not) in many cases did not know each other, did not organize with each other, in fact frequently quarreled among themselves, and could not agree on a unified plan for anything, either in the leadup to the event, or on August 12, 2017. Similarly, the defendants do not dispute that some attendees of UTR engaged in physical violence; and while they are quick to point out that most of the violence from the UTR attendee side was reactive, in self-defense against unprovoked assaults from Antifa, they have never denied that some UTR attendees were themselves aggressors. Perhaps most notably, for the purposes of this trial, none of the defendants have disputed the guilt of James Fields.
In other words, this trial is less about establishing facts, and more about interpreting them. In the absence of any direct communication establishing any explicit plans for violence, plaintiffs have attempted to make the case that political White Nationalism—the radical notion that Whites are entitled to their historic homelands, same as any other race or ethnicity—is an inherently violent ideology, akin to radical Islamic terrorism. They claim that White people peacefully expressing resistance to the dispossession and erasure of White people in their historic homelands somehow constitutes a “call to violence.” Indeed, so-called “expert witnesses” called by the plaintiffs have claimed in court that the Fourteen Words—“We must secure the existence of our people, and a future for White children”—is a “call to violence.” This was the sworn testimony of alleged “expert” Peter Simi, who repeatedly compared the UTR organizers to the Mafia, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and so on.
Leaving aside the political question of White Nationalism, this argument should be absolutely chilling to anyone who believes at all in the First Amendment. A verdict delivered in the plaintiffs’ favor would be the sound of the final death knell for the entire concept of Constitutionally-protected speech. It would establish a precedent in the judicial record that public advocacy on behalf of White people, even when this advocacy has been explicitly granted legal permission by a federal judge on First Amendment grounds, ipso facto constitutes grounds for those opposed to the existence of White people, those opposed to a future for White children, to be awarded monetary damages from White people who peacefully refuse to comply with their own dispossession and eradication, and the dispossession and eradication of their children.
As always, National Justice cautions readers that how testimony and evidence is received by outside observers is not necessarily how a jury will receive it. Predicting the outcome of a jury trial is always problematic for that reason.
The trial was originally expected to last two more weeks including this week, but word in the court room is now that it will go longer.
This is a civil trial and the jury consists of 12 members with no alternates. Jurors could drop out or be dismissed, but as long as six remain there can be a verdict.
The standard of finding here is a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt. A finding of liability in this court would require a unanimous verdict.
At heart in this case, is the 10 plaintiffs and their attorneys who allege that the defendants “conspired to commit racially motivated violence” at the legally permitted Unite the Right rally held in August 2017. The 2017 lawsuit – amended in 2019 – lists 20 White nationalist organizations and individuals, including the Daily Stormer’s Andrew Anglin, Matt Parrot, Matt Heimbach, Jason Kessler, Richard Spencer, Christopher Cantwell, the League of the South, the National Socialist Movement, the defunct Traditional Workers Party and Identity Evropa, and at least two chapters of the Ku Klux Klan.
The linchpin of the plaintiff’s lawsuit is the claim that organizers planned the rally with the purpose of committing violence. The independent Heaphy Report, which plaintiffs have desperately tried to avoid being introduced as evidence in the case, proves this accusation to be a blatant falsehood.