Both plaintiffs and defendants spent Thursday making the final arguments in the civil case of Sines v Kessler, with the highlight being pro se defendant Christopher Cantwell’s impassioned final say as well as a skilled argument from defense attorney Bryan Jones, representing the League of the South.
Judge Norman K. Moon revealed a stunning bias during the closing statements, interrupting pro se defendant Richard Spencer multiple times after giving a pass on the plaintiffs’ shrill, meandering and vitriolic close.
At one point he interrupted Spencer, who was making the case that the whole civil lawsuit was not to seek damages for injury, but rather to circumvent the First Amendment and bankrupt White people who organize in their own interests.
This was especially outrageous, because the plaintiffs’ Jewish activist Roberta Kaplan said in her closing that this is exactly what the plaintiffs’ goal was – bankrupting White people who organize in their own interest, and preventing them from doing so again in the future.
“You watch if Kaplan wins this—all you're going to hear about from Kaplan, her fellow lawyers and from the media is about how this lawsuit will keep White people from organizing in public in the future,” said National Justice Party Secretary Warren Balogh on his Telegram channel. “It's all she talked about before the lawsuit, but man—before the jury, in Judge Moon's courtroom, you better not say it!”
In fact Kaplan has said as much publicly many times.
In an interview with NBC, she said the following:
"I didn't really realize there would be a veritable renaissance of KKK Act litigation in the country," said Robbie Kaplan, the other lead attorney for the plaintiffs.
"The ultimate goal is not only to get verdicts and judgments for our clients," Kaplan said, "but to create the pressure that is required so that nothing like Charlottesville or even like Jan. 6 ever happens in our country again."
She has made such statements to a number of different publications.
“One of the reasons why I did this case is to deter other white supremacists, neo-Nazis and others from trying to organize anything like Charlottesville ever again. And making them understand that if they do, these will be the consequences.
“Some of the defendants in this case have already complained about how hard this trial is making it for them to organize and to raise money, people like Richard Spencer. And to our knowledge, none of them participated in person in the events at the Capitol on January 6. In other words, they at least have been deterred.”
NJP Chairman Mike Peinovich said on his Telegram channel. “When I was a defendant in the case I multiple times submitted statements like [the NBC interview] to the court asking them to sanction Kaplan and to dismiss the case.
“In her reply motions she denied that the case was about the very things she said it was about in the media,” Peinovich said. “I then argued she should be dismissed as an attorney and instead be a material witness in the case, because her behavior and motives are now a factual issue important to deciding the case. This motion sat on Moon's desk with no decision for months. This among other things is why I was released from the case.
“These people all know it is a SLAPP suit, and they are letting it proceed because of malice and cowardice,” Peinovich said.
Attorney Edward ReBrook IV, representing the National Socialist Movement, had a rough start but made a strong case against the conspiracy charge in his closing. He made a solid case that the plaintiffs targeted those involved in UTR with the most modest means, rather than more well-funded UTR participants like Dr. David Duke.
Kaplan and plaintiffs’ attorney Karen Dunn spent the morning making their shrill statement, going on about the anti-White sociologist Peter Simi.
In her closing argument Kaplan openly said damages in the trial should be calculated on the basis of what sum will make it impossible for the defendants to ever be able to organize politically again.
Dunn argued that plaintiffs don't actually need to have much in the way of evidence, in fact conspiracies are secret therefore the lack of evidence is evidence, and even if there are all sorts of things that cut against their theory, key cherry-picked facts taken out of context require the jury find in favor of the plaintiffs.
Kaplan later claimed they're not suing defendants for their political beliefs, before immediately shrieking “They’re national socialists! It’s right there in the name! National Socialist Movement! Like the Nazis in Germany!”
The attorney for defendant Jason Kessler made a weak case on technicalities of the law, repeating the mantra about how his clients have reprehensible beliefs but they didn’t conspire to commit racially motivated violence.
Jones made a stronger case against the lack of evidence, how events transpiring doesn’t imply causation, and other points.
“Why do you keep not getting to see the full video? Because the plaintiffs are hiding the truth from you,” Jones said.
Traditional Workers Party defense attorney Josh Smith made the case that it was Antifa and other counter-protesters who conspired to deprive UTR rallygoers of their constitutional and civil rights. He also made the point that his clients didn’t participate in the torchlight march, and they had explicit instructions for TWP members not to engage in violence or provocation.
“[Smith] is doing a good job of exposing the plaintiffs as hypocritical liars,” Balogh noted during the trial. “They're literally crying out as they strike the defendants.”
Smith made a solid case that TWP had previously hosted a number of successful, peaceful rallies and events, as well as poking gaping holes in the plaintiffs’ allegation of a conspiracy.
He also put in context the violence clash at the parking garage, when Deandre Harris tried to murder Harold Crews with a mag flashlight.
Smith closed powerfully with the near 5-minute video from TWP explaining why they were involved with and participating in Unite the Right, educating the jury on White genocide and the Great Replacement even as plaintiffs seethed.
"Listen to their words. There's no code in that," Smith said.
NJP’s Gregory Conte applauded his performance.
“Fantastic presentation by TWP's lawyer. He attacked the legitimacy of the plaintiffs. He alleged and substantiated that it was Antifa who did a conspiracy. He didn't waffle about his clients' moral rightness. In fact, he defended their political position. That's what you've got to do!
Cantwell took the stand and destroyed the concept of a conspiracy amongst the defendants, underscoring the desire to work with law enforcement and to use the “Pikeville model” – the successful rally in Pikeville, Kentucky prior to UTR.
Cantwell reminding the jury about the full context of his podcast about political violence, saying, "Far from calling for political violence, I was saying precisely the opposite. I was saying we cannot behave like the people opposing us, it will not work for us,” Cantwell said.
"I do not desire violence—racially motivated or otherwise, nor do I desire the incarceration that tends to accompany such violence,” Cantwell said.
He reminded the jury of the fact that he wore a body cam, and why. How reminded them he was afraid of being falsely accused of a crime, as he was, by Ed Gorcenski. He reminded them of how he hid information about their whereabouts before the rally, because he wanted to avoid a confrontation.
He also condemned Kaplan for her congenital dishonesty.
“Once again, Ms. Kaplan is deceiving you, because the truth is not on her side,” he said.
Cantwell attacked Simi's "veneer of academic respectability" and the fact that he's "made a career out of defaming his political opponents.”
Masterfully, he picked apart the entire plaintiffs case in a straight-forward, methodical way, diving into detail while maintaining the focus on the big picture – i.e. the plaintiffs wholly dishonest claims and allegations.
"Witness after witness has come up and failed to identify those men"—speaking about Antifa, referred by the plaintiffs as “students.”
“They were not 'students,' and that should tick you off," Cantwell said.
He also reminded the jury how many times the plaintiffs’ attorneys have, through coached testimony, tried to deceive the jury.
He also referenced his own charges from the fighting, noting, “You can believe me punching him was a crime and that’s fine because it doesn’t prove conspiracy or racially motivated violence.”
He then showed video from the confrontation at the Jefferson statue on Aug. 11, 2017.
“This is what I mean about diversity of tactics. This is a scam, a lie, it's a trick on you and it should upset you," Cantwell said. "We have sympathetic victims embedded with the criminal conspirators and then they say oh my God these monsters hurt us! It's classic, it's not new, and Mr. Wispelwey knew about it," Cantwell said.
He noted it’s a common tactic for Antifa to put non-combatants out front to shield the violent Antifa.
Cantwell went through each of the plaintiffs, and showing how all of them lied about their associations and their partisan motives, and then turned on the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
“I obviously was not here to break the law—and all of you know that.” Cantwell said. “Plaintiff's council lied to you when they said they believe in freedom of speech. They do not—you already know this.”
He argued that the entire suit is an end-around the First Amendment.
"What I do for a living is not illegal in this country, but it will be," if this kind of case is allowed to go forward, he argued. Cantwell was predictably admonished by Judge Moon, but it was too late, he made the point.
“If the plaintiffs could sue us for hate speech, they would. But they can't, so they're trying to shoehorn size 12 hate speech into size 5 conspiracy charge heels," Cantwell said.
Cantwell also brought into his argument that Kaplan, by her own words, said that the purpose of this lawsuit is silence White nationalists.
Judge Moon interrupted, protecting Kaplan, but Cantwell just spoke over him louder, making the point. He left it all out on the field. In his final statement, over the judge’s admonishing, he said he believed James Fields was innocent.
No one made a more holistic or principled case for all the defendants than Cantwell did.
Dunn gave the final rebuttal, leaning heavily into the biased jury instructions and her nebulous definition of the word “conspiracy,” which – coming after Cantwell’s impassioned close – couldn’t have landed flatter. She even showed the jury their ballots – pre-marked with “liable” checked – as if to tell the jury what was expected of them.
The case now goes to the jury.
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.
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 for each defendant, and the liability of one defendant does not reflect on the liability of any other defendant.
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.