Charlottesville, VA – The lawsuit against leading white supremacist organizers and groups began trial on October 25, 2021 at the federal courthouse in Charlottesville, Virginia. Attorneys with civil rights nonprofit Integrity First For America are representing victims of racist attacks at the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville in August 2017.
Additional Resources via Integrity First For America: Trial & Deposition Video Transcripts • Searchable Database of Plaintiff’s Trial Exhibits
Unicorn Riot’s rush transcript from the day’s proceedings is below. While the official court transcript is more comprehensive, UR’s live notes sometimes contain visual descriptions of elements not noted by the court reporter, including the visual appearance of exhibits shown at trial, movements of parties in the courtroom, and happenings in and around the courthouse.
NOTE: Rush transcripts are generated from Unicorn Riot’s live tweets posted in real-time while observing trial proceedings from inside the courthouse media room. Quotations and descriptions written here are not always precise verbatim quotes and sometimes use paraphrasing or shorthand to quickly capture and convey exchanges during court hearings. There may be some errors regarding details like jury numbers, exhibit numbers and dates as well as typos and missing punctuation. These rush transcripts do not capture every single moment but are our attempt to provide the public with as much direct access to the trial as possible until full court transcripts are made publicly available at a later date.
Rush transcripts: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 16
Read Unicorn Riot's live tweets from trial proceedings - Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 16 | Day 17 | Day 18 | Day 19
Day 10 – Nov. 5, 2021 (Collected from this tweet thread)
Testimony with white supremacist defendant Richard Spencer resumed today. It was followed by a video deposition featuring Ike Baker (Robert Isaac Shelby Baker) with the neoconfederate organization League of the South. (Jump to Baker testimony).
Michael Hill, a defendant with League of the South, then testified. (Jump to Hill testimony.)
This is followed by testimony from Thomas Baker, a plaintiff in the lawsuit (Jump to Baker testimony.)
Court begins now for Day 10 of trial in ‘Sines v. Kessler’, the federal civil lawsuit brought against organizers of the ‘Unite The Right’ rally by Integrity First for America on behalf of survivors of the car attack & other violence the weekend of August 12, 2017.
Richard Spencer (Defendant) Testimony, Continued
Chris Cantwell, a neo-nazi defendant representing himself, is continuing his cross-examination of alt-right leader Richard Spencer that began yesterday afternoon (Spencer, Cantwell’s co-defendant, is also representing himself).
Cantwell pulls up the text where he told Spender he was “willing to risk violence and incarceration for our cause…”
Cantwell asks Spencer: “are there many people who would break the law to hurt you?” Plaintiffs object, Judge Norman Moon sustains the objection.
Cantwell: do you sometimes fear for your safety?
Spencer: beginning in 2017, I attended the presidential inauguration…. I was giving an interview… and we were near a counter-protest.. and someone jumped out of the crowd and…punched me… throughout 2017 I received countless threats…
Cantwell: did some of those threats and attacks come from an identifiable group?
Spencer: the so-called antifa, yes
Cantwell: do you understand it to be a common antifa tactic to claim victimhood after attacking?
Plaintiffs: objection, leading
Judge Moon: that’s leading
Judge Moon: is your ultimate goal to prove your actions or his? He can explain why he did something but he cannot explain something you did… you can ask him anything about antifa that you and he experienced together
Cantwell: do you think it at all odd that I discussed violence and incarceration in this discussion with you?
Spencer: no… this was a very controversial…
Judge Moon: that’s the answer…
Spencer: antifa was a very real thing… they would often use violent tactics or passive aggressive tactics…
Cantwell: I take it you understand risk, then?… when one is willing to risk something are the desire and the risked outcome usually opposite?
Cantwell: so if someone is risking violence and incarceration does that mean that’s what they’re trying to accomplish?
Cantwell is asking Richard Spencer about the origins of the term alt-right – Cantwell asks Spencer if Paul Gottfried, who helped coin the term, was “Jewish” – “so you and a Jewish man coined the term alt-right?”
Judge Moon: let’s move on… it’s not worth the time it doesn’t prove anything
Cantwell: do you see yourself as the leader of the alt-right?
Cantwell: did you get invited to events for the… mainstream right?
Cantwell: did you want to mainstream the alt-right?
Spencer: yes that was my desire, to make it a mainstream movement?
Cantwell: do you think that violent crime is popular… that violent crime would be a good way to take the alt-right mainstream?… if you want the alt-right to be mainstream then why encourage supporters to take part in racially motivated violence?
Spencer: i was not doing that
Cantwell is talking about the Eliott Kline deposition now
Cantwell: was violent humor part of the alt-right?
Spencer: yes, it was juvenile… everyone wanted to be the “edgiest”… it was very “heavy metal”
Cantwell: have you studied the subject of rhetoric? What books have you read?
Spencer: pedantically lists off authors and topics
Cantwell: you ever watch GI Joe as a kid?
Spencer: I did
Cantwell: do you remember ‘knowing is half the battle’?
Cantwell asks Spencer about the meaning of “hyperbole”
Cantwell asks Spencer about the term “zombie apocalypse”, plaintiffs object, Judge Moon asks if that term came up in testimony. Cantwell asks Spencer if “RaHoWa” (“racial holy war”) is a “real thing”, Spencer says he thinks “a rock band coined that”…”it’s obviously a metaphor”
Cantwell: its a purely fantastic fictional scenario… but I’ll move on because now I’ve ruined the joke, thanks….
Cantwell: do you recall a Democratic campaign slogan about a Republican ‘war on women?… what about the Ron Paul revolution?
Spencer: Yes, I was a part of the Ron Paul revolution…
Cantwell: while working to grow the alt-right, did you ever find yourself working with libertarians or former libertarians… did you come to understand the ‘non-aggression principle’?
Spencer: yes, it’s the idea that force is only justified in self-defense
Cantwell: was there any other political movement which served as a more fruitful recruiting ground for the alt-right than libertarianism…?
Spencer: not sure… many libertarians were inclined towards the alt-right
Cantwell: did this influence the way you discuss the use of force?
Spencer: perhaps to a small degree
Cantwell:… what is the difference between white supremacy and white nationalism?
Spencer:… something like the British empire could be considered white supremacists… I think white nationalism is probably a better catch-all term…
Cantwell: yesterday you said you were quoted as saying the ethnostate would come about through a ‘geopolitical cataclysm’ – what is an accelerationist?
Spencer: I think it’s someone who wants to bring about a cataclysm faster
Cantwell: when Heimbach said you weren’t part of the ‘hard right’ were you insulted?
Cantwell: is it fair to say you see yourself in competition w accelerationists and the ‘hard right’?
Spencer: yes, I want my own version of the alt-right to succeed
Cantwell: when did you and I first met?
Spencer: I think it was in Alexandria… or DC… summer 2017
Cantwell: was it fair to say you had known me by reputation previously?
Cantwell: before the DC rally do you remember a security briefing drawn up on a chalkboard?… Who did that?
Spencer: yes… I think it was Greg Conte
Cantwell: was Kurt there?
Spencer: not sure
Cantwell: was Defendant Kline there?
Cantwell: was there some concern for our safety going into that event?
Cantwell: you described an afterparty after the DC event, was I there for very long?
Spencer: I don’t recall your being there
Cantwell: at the event known as Cville 1.0 was I present, involved in the planning or at the afterparty?
Cantwell asks Spencer about the Cville 1.0 afterparty in May 2017
Cantwell: violence isn’t just a theoretical exercise for you and me is it… you mentioned earlier you had been punched in the face… when you stated that ‘we are entering into a world of political violence’ was that interaction fresh in your mind…?
Cantwell asks Spencer about the shooting of House Rep. Steve Scalise in relation to comments about political violence.
Cantwell: do you believe that the threats to your safety would increase or decrease if you showed fear in public?
Spencer: that’s a difficult question
Cantwell: following the Unite The Right rally you continued on a speaking tour… at some point did you call that tour off?
Cantwell: at some point did you call that tour off?
Spencer: yes.. the last event, it seemed like scuffles outside the event were overshadowing the event itself to the point that… at the last one, I was unable to speak…the conflicts made the speech irrelevant…
Cantwell: did you make a video about that where you said “antifa was winning because they were willing to go further than anyone else” – what did you mean by that?
Spencer: they escalated to the point where it’s not a speech, it’s not about Richard Spencer… it overshadowed me… it made me look bad… I started to have a kind of sick feeling about all of this where it wasn’t leading anywhere good
Cantwell: wasn’t violence your desired outcome?.. Yesterday we heard you say you wanted to dominate the streets, why not just keep going?
Spender: when I said dominate the streets… I just meant to be out there, get our message out…
Cantwell: as of August 10, 2017 did you know me to have a reputation for harming innocent people?
Spencer: To be frank Mr. Cantwell you did have a bit of a reputation as a hothead
Cantwell: was it your impression that I had cultivated that reputation?
Spencer: I didn’t know
Cantwell: as of August 10, 2017 were you aware of any act of violence attributed to any of my listeners?
Spencer: I had not heard of that no
Cantwell: yesterday you said you created a separate Discord server for alt-right leaders.. what role, if any, did I have in any of that?
Spencer: to be clear I had Eliot Kline create that and I don’t think he actually did that… I never took part… your name did not come up
Cantwell: did you attend the leadership meeting at McIntire Park on August 11?
Cantwell: are you familiar with the website ItsGoingDown.org ?
Spencer: I’m familiar yes
Cantwell: are you familiar with a post they shared revealing our plans for the torch march?
Spencer: not with that post
Cantwell: were you aware of an instruction to cut the tiki torches to a shorter length than is sold in stores?
Spencer: no… I don’t think I held a tiki torch [on August 11]
Chris Cantwell asks Richard Spencer about the route the torch march took from Nameless Field, Spencer describes speaking with Jason Kessler about what alleys to walk up etc
Cantwell: so you’re saying that the route that we took, that was your idea?
Spencer: not the whole route, but… it’s my recollection that I saw Kessler there and I was like, this would be a good way…
Cantwell: before you made that suggestion did you know of a planned route?
Cantwell: were you up towards the front of the formation at the torch march?
Spencer: at the beginning… but things would sort of shift and change…
Cantwell: before we started marching, were you up towards the front?
Cantwell: Did you hear defendant Kline giving people instructions at the front of that formation?
Spencer: I don’t have strong memories of seeing him at all during the torch march
Cantwell: did you see me on UVA campus on the evening of August 11?
Spencer: I do remember seeing you
Cantwell: do you recall what you saw as you walked down the stairs towards the statue?
Spencer: its kind of vague
Cantwell: I’m showing you PX-2695, can we publish that to the jury
It’s a photo of the “VA Students Act Against White Supremacy” banner being held by the Jefferson statue. Cantwell circles Emily Gorcenski in the photo, asks Spencer a bunch of questions about her, seems fixated
Cantwell is circling other people from the photo of the students at the torch rally, asking Spencer if he recognizes them, Spencer says no.
Cantwell: did you expect counter-protesters to be waiting for us at the statue?
Cantwell: the torch march was supposed to be a secret?
Cantwell: yesterday you were shown in a video where someone said “we need more people over here to block these guys off”.. what would you have done if one of these counter-protesters said ‘excuse me’ and tried to walk past you?
Spencer: yes, I would have let them walk by…
Cantwell mentions PX-2117, the video from the torch rally at the statue that he was citing in his last Q. Says its a livestream from Augustus Invictus and he wants to add the whole video to evidence
Bloch (plaintiffs): there is an objection on this issue
Sidebar happening now
Spencer stretches his arms back behind his head and yawns on the witness stand
sidebar is done
Cantwell: was the decision to circle the monument made before or after we saw circled the counter-protesters?
Spencer: after… it was… spontaneous
Cantwell: before we went to the statue the plan was to be around the statue?
Spencer: yes.. I don’t know of any real specific details.. it was just an organic movement… but going to the statue generally… [was the plan]
Cantwell: did you punch, kick, pepper spray or otherwise attempt to inflict pain on anyone that night?
Cantwell: did you personally witness any alt-right attendee attack any innocent students that night?
Cantwell: did you become aware at some point that I was arrested for my role that night?
Cantwell: you weren’t aware that I had been arrested??
Spencer: …I wasn’t paying that much attention to you…
Cantwell: was I involved in the National Policy Institute.. or other organizations…?
Spencer: I would say you were involved in the Radical Agenda podcast
Cantwell: please tell the jury what role I played in developing your plans for August 11
Cantwell: do you recall me sending you a text telling you to install Signal?
Spencer: i don’t really recall that
Cantwell: did you at some point install the app?
Spencer: at some point I did install the Signal app, yes
Cantwell: are you familiar with how it works?
Cantwell: in your experience does that app auto-delete messages without you telling it to?
Spencer: no.. I did not use that function
Cantwell: could your concern with your “public image” be described as “optics”?
Cantwell asks Spencer about the term “agree and amplify” and media strategy…
Cantwell: based on what you know about jails and prisons do you think you’d like to spend a lot of time in one?
Cantwell: On August 11-12 did you hide your face from any cameras?
Cantwell is asking Spencer about the phrase “nationalism for all people”, and Marcus Garvey, black nationalism etc
Cantwell: yesterday we saw a video of you talking about Wes Bellamy… we also saw a text from somebody to you suggesting we should embrace black nationalists as some sort of PR strategy… was the text message the reason you made that video?
Cantwell: have you ever knowingly acted at the behest of any government agency, foreign or domestic?
Cantwell: have you ever read Mein Kampf?
Cantwell: no further questions
Edward Rebrook, defense counsel for Jeff Schoep and the National Socialist Movement, is phoning in to cross-examine Richard Spencer.
Rebrook: was Jeff Schoep involved with you in your planning for the Unite The Right rally?
Rebrook: could you recognize Jeff Schoep if you saw him?
Rebrook: no further Qs
Judge Moon: Mr. Spencer, since you represent yourself you have the right to cross-examine yourself…
Spencer: as tantalizing as it is to have a conversation with myself I will wait to testify
Michael Bloch says he has re-direct for Spencer but wants to play a video exhibit and needs 5 mins to pull up a video for it
Judge Moon calls a 20 min recess starting now
Michael Bloch, plaintiffs attorney with Integrity First For America, is doing ‘re-direct’ examination questioning of Richard Spencer after the various defendants finished cross-examining.
Bloch: Mr. Spencer, Mr. Cantwell asked you this morning – “at the torch march did you become aware some point that I had been arrested for my role…” and you said that you not, but then said you had heard that he had been arrested but not in relation to the torch light rally…?
Bloch shows a text from August 16, 2017 where Cantwell texted Spencer “I’ve got a warrant out for my arrest from UVA” and Spencer replied “I’m very sorry to hear that. Stay strong. Is is just in Virginia? And for what?“
Cantwell replied “I think its for the torch march brawl“
Bloch asks about Cantwell asking Spencer if he had been at the ‘leadership meeting’ at Mcintire Park on August 11 – Spencer had answered no, that he hadn’t gone.
Bloch: in your deposition testimony…you answered “as we were headed to the torch march I think we might have picked up Evan McLaren and I remember seeing some of these guys open carrying…” and then says he saw guys “with weapons.. in Mcintire park beforehand…”
After pointing out that discrepancy, Bloch says he has no further Qs.
But then Spencer (not asked any other questions) says that there was a separate meeting at Mcintire park on August 12 in the morning and that’s what he was referring to
Spencer: there was a security meeting on August 11 in Mcintire park that I did not attend.. on August 12 before the rally.. and after.. there were large gatherings [in Mcintire park]…
Bloch: your testimony says “as we were headed to the torch march… I remember seeing some of these guys…”
Next witness called by the plaintiffs is a 7 minute deposition video of Ike Baker from the League of the South
Judge Moon instructs the jury that each party should be judged separately, says that the deposition about to be played shouldn’t be considered in regards to Cantwell because Cantwell wasn’t at the deposition.
Ike Baker Video Deposition
The video of Ike Baker’s deposition is playing now – he states his full name as Robert Isaac Shelby Baker
The video deposition seems to have been taken remotely, Ike Baker looks different than in his rally photos – he has a longer beard and a green hat on, is wearing headphones.
Right away Ike Baker gets testy asking the questioner to ask him to define “familiar” and “member” when asked if he is a member of the League of the South before admitting he’s a member.
Do you hold any formal role in the League?
Baker: Chief of Operations
When did you become Chief of Operations?
Baker: sept 2017
Who appointed you in that role?
Baker: Michael Hill
Did you report to anyone in that role?
Baker: gonna ask you to clarify “report” please
Did you receive assignments?
Baker: Michael Hill
Is there anyone else at the League that you report to?
Baker: not formally although as a courtesy, yes
And who are those individuals?
Baker: Michael Tubbs
You’re familiar w the events of August 11-12, 2017 in Charlottesville?
Baker: August 12.. I was not there August 11
When did you arrive in Charlottesville?
Baker: the afternoon of Friday August 11
Mr. Hill did direct certain tasks to Mr. Tubbs, correct? And directed you to perform certain tasks?
Ike Baker: yes
Ike Baker is shown an email from Michael Hill to Michael Tubbs saying “Have a good talk with Ike Baker tonight. On-the-ground planning for Cville is coming along nicely… “
Do you recall having talks w Michael Hill about planning for Charlottesville?
Baker: i don’t recall…
Did you handle on-the-ground planning for Charlottesville?
Baker: …what I did was study the aerial photographs…maps… located a direct route in… and out… of that part of Charlottesville.. that was my responsibility as well as securing a secure parking area…
Baker is asked about giving parking information to the National Socialist Movement
You previously testified that you reached out to the Charlottesville Police, you had one convo and most of your calls were not returned?
You said you talked to a detective Newberry & he provided no cooperation at all?
Since the Cville police were not returning your calls… why did you expect assistance on august 12?
Ike Baker: we did not expect assistance we just expected lawful treatment
The Ike Baker deposition video is done playing now
Michael Hill (Defendant) Testimony:
Plaintiffs call their next witness – Michael Hill, leader of the League of the South (Hill and his group are also both defendants in the case.)
Hill was just sworn in and is seated in the witness stand now.
Alan Levine from the Integrity First For America legal team will be questioning Michael Hill of the League of the South now.
Levine: You founded the League of the South in 1994.. and you’ve been president.. since the founding…?
Levine: by 2016 the League had how many state chapters?
Hill: probably about 15.. most of the southern states and a few states outside of the south
Levine: The League of the South had a website… and you used that website to publish statements by you..?
Hill: largely me
Levine shows the jury a post from the League of the South website that Hill posted in August 2016 entitled “Michael Hill: My pledge of allegiance”
Levine: that document… was for your 64th birthday…
Levin has Hill read sections from his post – it calls the south “White Man’s Land” & “I pledge to be a white supremacist, a racist and an anti-Semite, a homophone, a xenophone, and Islamophobe & any other kind of phobe…”
Hill happily and loudly reads the statement from the website and just now loudly agrees with Levine when asked if he still is proud to be a white supremacist
Hill: I still hold those views
Levine: southern white nationalism seeks to create a white Aryan homeland, isn’t that right?
Hill: we seek to create a white homeland
Levine: at that means returning Black people to their status under Jim Crow?
Hill: I’ve never said that
Levine pulls up an email sent by Hill on April 2, 2017: “negroes are incapable of creating or sustaining anything resembling western civilization… however when the civil rights revolution undermined white resolve and the negro was freed from white oversight and domination…”
the email from Michael Hill calls for “the restoration of white dominance through various Jim Crow type laws”
Hill to Levine: I called for Jim Crow type laws, not Jim Crow laws… words matter
Levine: do you believe that white people are superior to Black people?
Hill tries to deny he believes that, gets really slippery, says “in some cases yes, in some cases no”
Levine pulls Michael Hill’s same email back up that says “negroes are incapable of creating or sustaining anything resembling western civilization”
Levine: are these your words?
Levine: are you saying those words don’t mean white people are superior to Black people?
Hill: in terms of creating civilization yes, in other areas, no.
“Rather we see ourselves as the soul of the Hard Right, an uncompromising movement of real blood and soil Southern/White nationalists who will not compromise our vision of a Southern homeland for Whites… we are firm on the Negro Question and the Jew Question..” – Michael Hill email
Levine: you not only consider yourself an anti-Semite but for you… the Jewish people… are your enemies, is that right?
Levine: you went to Tennessee…to speak to League members and supporters… please take a look at the video.. is that you speaking?
Hill: that’s me
YouTube video shows Michael Hill saying “for 109 times in the history of the world the Jew has been banished … lord we ask that you make # 110 come soon… we ask you to reveal to the world the hoax that the Jew has been perpetrating now for 80 years.. called the Holocaust…”
Video shows Hill burning a Torah in what he calls “holy oven fires”
Levine: you burned an Israeli flag, a Talmud, & the Communist Manifesto?
Hill: that’s right
Levine: you burned Marx.. bc he was Jewish… in your view Jews are responsible for communism, correct?
Levine: you believe that violence is necessary to achieve the southern white society that you believe is necessary
Hill: I’m not sure that it would be in all cases
Levine: let’s pull up PX-1567…an email from you to the League of the South board of directors in June 2017
The email shows Hill writing to the League – “We southern nationalists – white southerners – will have no part of any of this. In fact, we are willing to fight, kill and die, and stop it…”
Levine: your view is that you and your League members are going to have to use violence, or be prepared to use violence, to achieve the white nationalist society that you envision?
Hill: we are prepared to do whatever is necessary…
Levine is now showing PX-1923C, a video of a talk Michael Hill gave at a League of the South conference before Unite The Right – “we need to become warriors, that is develop the warrior mind set in every facet of our lives… we are at war already…”
Levine: when you used the word warrior there, you meant it both literally and figuratively?
Hill: I meant it both ways
Levine: the street battle and fighting at Charlottesville 2.0 is the exact kind of battle that you planned for, isn’t that right?
Hill: that isn’t right
Levine shows a video of Hill saying: “When you stand up like we stood up in the streets of Cville…I’m so proud..that was a day of great pride… we showed the enemy on that day we are here and we are not backing down.. this is what it’s going to take…”
Levine is asking Michael Hill about the process of Jason Kessler inviting Hill and the League of the South to Unite The Right, inviting Hill to be a speaker.
Hill’s attorney objects, Judge Moon overrules the objection saying Hill is “obviously adverse”
Levine: you accepted the invitation to speak… for the League to participate…?
Levine shows the jury a flyer for Unite The Right that includes Dr. Michael Hill as a speaker along w Richard Spencer & other defendants
Levine: you assigned roles to various League members to lead different aspects of the League’s participation in Charlottesville 2.0… you asked Michael Tubbs.. to be involved in the operation that day?
Hill: yes I did
Levine: you asked Brad Griffin… to handle public relations?
Levine: and you knew there was a Discord server… for planning Charlottesville 2.0… you were invited to designate someone from the League to have access…?
Hill: I was invited to participate in the Discord.. I sent someone in my place to monitor
Levine: to monitor and participate, correct?
Hill: I sent Baker to monitor
Levine: you stayed involved in general strategy, and everyone reported to you…?
Hill: everyone in the League reported back to me… I’m the president
Levine shows exhibit PX-1551 – an email Hill sent to Michael Tubbs on July 12, 2017
7/12/17 email from Michael Hill to Michael Tubbs:
“Had a good talk with Ike Baker tonight. On-the-ground planning for Cville is coming along nicely, much to do but the Pikeville template, on a larger scale, looks like it will work well there. He will be in touch…”
Levine reads an email from Hill to League of the South from May 2017 –
“this is an official call for resistance, I have spoken with many of you…You know what it means…on this matter.. I want no discussion here or anywhere else online about any…strategies, tactics.. those will all be handled through secure channels…” – Hill email
Levine shows Michael Hill another email exchange he had with Ike Baker on July 13, 2017
Hill email: “I spoke with Mr. Kessler about inviting David Duke to speak; he agreed to have him give the keynote speech at the after-event gathering…”
Levine: you did speak w Duke and arrange for his attendance?
Hill: I put him in contact w Kessler and they made they arrangements
Levine: you did speak with other white nationalist groups to ensure a big turnout for Unite The Right?
Hill: that’s not the reason we talked to those groups
Levine: you worked with Matt Heimbach to create the Nationalist Front…
Levine is starting to refer to the transcript from Michael Hill’s deposition – he was asked if he said the Nationalist Front was “the brainchild of Matthew Heimbach” and he said “that is correct”
Hill: I have no direct evidence Heimbach was the originator.. that’s what i heard
Levine is going over details of the Nationalist Front as a coalition between Heimbach’s Traditionalist Worker Party, the League of the South, National Socialist Movement and Vanguard America
Levine: the Nationalist Front was an alliance of these groups that all shared the same white nationalist views and goals, correct?
Hill: some of the goals I wouldn’t say all
Levine: and they shared common enemies… including the Jew?
Levine shows a May 15 2017 post from the League’s website – a statement by Michael Hill entitled “Working with our nationalist allies” that says “I am very happy that The League is now working with several other nationalist groups… we have the same common enemy…”
Levine: the League wouldn’t have attended Charlottesville 2.0 unless you understood that all the speakers shared the same beliefs…?
Hill: we didn’t share all the same exact beliefs…
Levine: in your deposition… you said “I would not have gone if I had thought that they would have been in opposition to it” when asked if you would have asked League members to go to Charlottesville if the speakers didn’t share your beliefs..?
Levine is going over Hill’s deposition answers about how he knew Jeff Schoep (National Socialist Movement leader) was involved in planning for Unite The Right, after Hill tried to say just now in court that he wasn’t sure about Schoep’s involvement
Levine: you had a convo w Ike Baker who suggested that he talk with Jeff Schoep about the National Socialist Movement’s participation in Charlottesville 2.0, correct?
Hill: yes, to discuss logistics of getting in and getting out of the event
Levine: and participating with the National Socialist Movement in the events of the day?
Hill: that’s a very general statement… yes that’s what I’m saying
Levine: and you told Baker to be sure that Jeff Schoep was on board… didn’t Baker report back to you that Schoep was 100 percent on board…?
Hill: i don’t recall that exact language but I do recall him telling me he was participating
Levine shows PX-1545, shows a portion of a message from Ike Baker to Michael Hill on July 13, 2017:
“Jeff Schoep is 100% onboard, sir… He also asked to be kept abreast and that I coordinate NSM participation with two of his people, one of whom I’m well acquainted with…”
Levine: you wrote a speech to NSM encouraging their participation and asked Ike Baker to read it to them for you..?
Hill: that’s right
Levine shows a copy of the speech Hill sent as League of the South leader to Baker to read to the NSM pushing them to attend UTR
Levine publishes to the jury the email of the speech Hill had Baker deliver to the NSM. It includes a quotation of the “14 words” neo-nazi mantra.
Hill is getting combative with Levine about whether or not the 14 words have anti-semitic or racist implications
Levine: is it your testimony… that these 14 words are not 14 code words known by.. white supremacists like yourself?
Hill: i can’t define these terms for anyone but myself…you’re asking me to give you a definition of this based on someone else’s perception of it…
Levine: is it your testimony.. that those 14 words.. weren’t referring to hatred for Jews or Black people?
Hill: the words mean what the words say and there isn’t any mention in here of what you say.. I have white children..and I am defending them.. that’s what it means…
Levine puts back up the speech Hill to NSM. After it quotes the 14 words for allegedly non-racist purposes, Hill’s speech reads “we are compassed around with enemies who seek our destruction… in the form of the international Jew…to below in the dark shape of the negro..”
Levine: you expected counter-protesters and you thought a street confrontation with them would be fun, didn’t you?
Hill: I don’t recall having ever said that
Levine pulls up a June 9, 2017 League website post from Hill announcing his group’s participation in Unite The Right. “Antifa BLM, et all will be there to greet us! Don’t miss out on the fun!”
Levine: when you were talking about fun, you weren’t talking about tailgating… you were talking about ‘mixing it up’ with counter-protesters, isn’t that right?
Hill: that isn’t right.
Levine shows Hill a September 2017 statement by Hill where he wrote “we wanted a public confrontation in Charlottesville for the world to see and we got it.. do we want another or do we want a staged event… for optics”
Levine: in the email you said “For instance we wanted a public confrontation in Charlottesville for the world to see” – isn’t it a fact that the confrontation you wanted would come from baiting antifa and Black Lives Matter supporters…?
Levine: don’t you say in the paragraph above that -“We will invite our Nationalist Front allies to participate and will use this as “bait” to draw Antifa, BLM etc into opposition” (the email shown to the jury clearly shows Hill did write that)
Hill: we wanted a rally that had opposition because it is good optics
Levine: didn’t you want street violence with them?
Levine: didn’t you praise Michael Tubbs for engaging in street violence in Charlottesville?
Hill: if you show me i can confirm or deny
Levine shows the jury an email to Michael Hill where someone says “Mr. Michael Tubbs was on FoxNews leading the troops into battle and coordinating attack…”
Hill replied to that email, “Mr. Tubbs indeed was much the warrior as were all of our men who joined us at Charlottesville…”
Levine shows Tweets by Michael Hill (“I don’t have access to that Twitter account anymore” – Hill), Levine points out that the @ occdissent account tagged in these was Brad Griffin of the League of the South
Levine: you designated Mr. Tubbs to lead the League members on Saturday, August 12 because you knew you could count on him.. to lead…soldiers.. you had Mr. Tubbs leading the group because he was 6’5 and very intimidating?
Hill: no I had Mr. Tubbs leading the group because he’s my chief of staff
Levine shows the jury tweets from Michael Hill including one that says
“Mr. Tubbs was everywhere the chaos was.”
Levine: Didn’t Mr. Tubbs tell you that he was hoping for violence that day?
Hill: I don’t recall him ever using the terms that he was hoping for violence that day
Levine pulls up a July 7 email exchange between Michael Hill & Michael Tubbs:
7/7/17 email from Hill to Tubbs & others: “Antifa will indeed show up in large numbers in Cville…” and will have weapons etc- Hill
Tubbs responded to Hill’s email: “While…we haven’t had any hard intel so far to make us believe there was going to be violence I think we all assumed there would be (and maybe even hoped for it)”
Hill claims to Levine that that email from Tubbs didn’t show Tubbs was “hoping for violence”
Levine is now asking about the League of the South shields, Hill claims League member Danny Hembry (sp)? “made them and presented them to me of his own volition”
Hill is claiming the League of the South shields were “for defensive purposes.”
Levine shows him a League document where he says the shields would be a “formidable sight.”
Levine asks is members were told to wear helmets, Hill says he “recommended it” as a “defensive measure”
Levine is asking Hill about the League’s uniform for Unite The Right, Hill admits he carried a “walking stick” and a concealed weapon.
Asked by Levine if he used his waking stick to attack counter-protesters, Hill says he did not.
Levine shows the jury a photo from August 12 of Hill striking someone with his walking stick.
Hill: “My walking stick was grabbed away from me by him first and I wrested it away from him”
Levine shows a Tweet Michael Hill put out on July 24, 2017 – “If you want to defend the South and Western civilization from the Jew and his dark-skinned allies, be at Charlottesville on 12 August.”
Levine: you were actually hoping to recruit people with that message, is that right?
Hill: I don’t remember that specifically…
Levine refers to Hill’s deposition where he was asked about the tweet where he agreed under oath that he did intend the tweet to get people to come to Charlottesville and possibly join the League of the South as members before attending.
Hill just now claims he “forgot”
Levine: when you wrote that statement you didn’t say “defend democracy from antifa”, did you… you said “defend…civilization… from the Jew and his dark-skinned allies” – that isn’t a political call, its racial…
Hill: it’s political to me…
Levine: this was a call to battle to advance your racially motivated objectives, was it not?
Hill: no it was a political call… to defend our civilization…
Levine: to defend it against “the Jew” and “his dark skinned allies”…?
Levine is asking Hill about his attendance about a planning meeting on Friday night at the compound where the League of the South was staying. Hill says he doesn’t remember if Matt Heimbach was there or not
Levine: Cesar Ortiz, Mr. Heimbach’s security man was there?
Hill: I don’t recall
Levine: you had that meeting on Friday night and that’s why you didn’t go to the torch march?
Hill: you can’t be two places at one time… I didn’t find out about the torch march…
Levine: in your deposition…you agreed you “didn’t decide not to participate in the torch rally for tactical reasons”, you did it because you had your meeting that night
Levine: you weren’t opposed torch light rallies for tactical reasons… you appointed people to go… League members attended…
Levine: it’s true that you knew about the torch rally before it happened?
Levine: you never disavowed it… in fact you were impressed with it?
Hill: it looked very good…
Levine: you knew some of the chants at the rally were “Jews will not replace us”, “blood and soil”… if you praised the torch march you must have watched a video of it?
Hill: i must have seen some videos of it… I don’t remember hearing the chants
Judge Moon: recess for lunch now til 1:30
When we come back Integrity First For America attorney Alan Levine will continue his direct examination questioning of defendant Michael Hill, leader of the League of the South (the League is also a defendant in this case)
Plaintiffs’ lawyer Alan Levine will continue questioning Michael Hill, leader of the racist and anti-Semitic League of the South
Judge Moon has the jury come back in and Alan Levine is resuming his direct examination of Michael Hill. Before lunch, Levine was asking Hill about statements he and Michael Tubbs made hoping for violence at Unite The Right, and his knowledge of plans for the torch march
Levine: Mr. Hill, i wanna turn to Sat. August 12, 2017… you and your League of the South convoy…drove to a meeting place with others from the Nationalist Front… the only part of the plans with Mr. Kessler you didn’t like had to do with your transportation…?
Hill: yes and Ike Baker took care of that.
Levine shows an email to Hill from Ike Baker: “…I’m arranging a conversation with J. Schoep. Upon his acceptance of the conditions you laid out last night, planning Operation Shoo-Fly begins in earnest…”
Levine: that discussion with Ike Baker included getting in touch with David Duke, former grand wizard of the KKK… you knew him from your activities in the movement?
Hill: Yes I’ve known him since the 1990s
Levine: so they you all meet together as planned.. you’re at the Market Street garage.. with the other organizations that are in the Nationalist Front…?
Hill: yes we met in the Joann Fabric parking lot then convoyed in to the parking garage…
Levine: you knew that morning from talking to Ike Baker that Baker had actually never come to Charlottesville before that day to figure out the logistics..?
Hill: yes it was too far for him to drive…he did a lot of Google Maps logistics…
Levine: you learned from Ike Baker… that he had never visited Charlottesville physically to make those logistics plans..?
Levine: and you knew that Ike Baker was talking with Heimbach and Schoep, others in the Nationalist Front, to coordinate all of this?
Levine: and Baker selected the Market Street garage bc it was easy to get in and out of town with lots and cars?
Hill: also it was close to the police station…for security
Levine: Baker told you… that he had tried to contact the Cville police that they were not cooperative at all and gave him no advice?
Hill: he generally said they were not cooperative…
Levine: so when you on behalf of the League and the Nationalist Front…decided to march down Market Street it wasn’t because the police told you… or recommended that you.. march down Market Street?
Hill: they didn’t tell us one way or the other
Levine: you could have entered Emancipation Park from the other entrance…as Kessler had arranged?
Hill: we selected to take Market Street because we didn’t like Kessler’s security plan
Hill: the police knew that we were going to come down Market Street that morning because Ike Baker told them
Levine: He didn’t say that, he didn’t testify to that
Hill: he said that in his deposition
Levine: you have filed a document in the court that does’y say anything about what Ike Baker said to the police
Hill: I filed that because I didn’t have any personal knowledge
[NOTE: This line of Qs from Levine seems to contrast with Matt Heimbach’s earlier testimony in which he said that the TWP/League of the South group had to march down Market Street into counter-protesters the morning of Unite The Right bc the cops told them to]
Alan Levine shows the jury a document signed by Hill that seems to be his answers to interrogatory questions asked to him under oath during earlier proceedings for this case.
Levine focuses on a portion of the document where Hill was asked to “identify each communication concerning the events that you had with any member of law enforcement…”
Levine pulls up Hill’s answer to that Q in the sworn document he signed on behalf of himself & League of the South –
Hill wrote “in all, according to Mr. Baker he made around half a dozen calls to these agencies.” No written or other records were kept and he cannot recall the names of anyone with whom he spoke. None of the calls, according to Baker were productive in nature.”
Levine: in that statement you don’t have anything about what Baker said about that one call… isn’t it a fact that you didn’t walk down Market Street because the police told you to?
Hill: they didn’t tell us to
Levine: it’s also true that you didn’t walk down Market Street because you told the police that you would and then they winked at you?
Hill: all I know is that’s what Mr. Baker told me what he told the police.
Levine: but that’s not in your sworn answer…
Levine: there’s no evidence, other than your say-so here today, what Mr. Baker purportedly said to the police about your route that day?
Levine: you know… that the permit for Saturday’s rally was for Emancipation Park…?
Levine: and you knew that the permit did not include a march on Market Street, didn’t you?
Hill: [sucks teeth]… let’s see. [raises voice] – how do you get to the park if you don’t walk down the street to get there?
Levine: I’m asking you if the League of the South had a permit to march down Market Street as if it were a parade….
Levine: you could have gone in through the other entrance like Kessler arranged…
Levine: You wanted to bring your soldiers with shields and flags like they were marching to war…what you wanted was the public confrontation from the League of the South column marching down Market Street?
Hill: that’s wrong. We wanted to get to the park safely
Levine: as you marched down Market Street, didn’t you know there was going to be a confrontation?
Levine: didn’t you see the counter-protesters locked arm in arm in the street?
Levine: you don’t dispute that when you got to them face to face, Mr. Tubbs kept barreling through them with the shields..?
Hill: we made our way into the park
Levine: you made your way into the park by initiating a violent encounter with them, isn’t that true?
Hill: we walked through them… there was violence on both sides
Alan Levine is playing part of a video showing the Nationalist Front/League of the South column marching up Market Street towards the counter-protesters. Levine pauses the video and circles Michael Tubbs – Michael Hill is next to him
Levine: you and Mr. Tubbs did not stop walking at any point?
Hill: I’m not sure
Levine: we’ll roll the videotape.
The video shows Hill’s group plowing into, punching counter-protesters and hitting them with poles
Not sure if its the same exact video but this video of ours shows the incident in question:
Levine: is it a fact that Mr. Tubbs and you did not stop?
Hill: I’d have to see it again… could you have it replayed?
Levine plays the video again. The video shows League of the South leaders Michael Hill and Spencer Borum in particular assaulting people a lot
Hill: …the main body of the column stopped..
Levine: but Mr. Tubbs and you in the front of the column did not stop, is that right?
Hill: I lost sight of myself… but the main column did stop…
Levine: Isn’t it a fact that you and Michael Tubbs, leading the column, did not stop marching down the street until they started to push into the counter-protesters, isn’t that right?
Hill: i saw a policeman and he gave me the, ‘we’re not gonna do anything, we’re standing aside
Levine: that was your impression, he didn’t say anything?
Levine: the counter-protesters were standing still… and Tubbs and you led the column with shields and helmets into them… the shields were used for offense?
Hill: the shields were used to push through the crowd in order to defend our group…
Levine pulls up a transcript of Hill’s deposition where he says “it was an act of self-defense for our liberty to exercise our first amendment rights” when asked if the pushing into counter-protesters with shields “was an act of self defense”
Levine: you push through the crowd… you end up getting onto the steps to Emancipation Park and shortly after that happens an unlawful assembly is declared?
Hill: I don’t know how long, maybe an hour and a half
Levine: during that time there was a lot of fighting?
Hill: yes.. I had assigned Mr. Tubbs and the shield bearers to be at the entrance to the park where antifa could not get in
Levine: you never set up for the rally in Emancipation Park that day?
Hill: I never found Mr. Kessler…
Levine: you never spoke that day and noone ever gave a speech that day where the rally was supposed to be…?
Levine: just a lot of violence?
Hill: there was a lot of violence that day, yes
Levine: then you went to Mcintire park… who do you recall seeing there?
Hill: Spencer Borum escorted me there, I can’t remember who else..
Levine: on the course of that morning, just “lots of violence” .. all day, isn’t that right?
Hill: I don’t know about all day, I know that the time where were there… until we left, there was violence pretty much that whole time
Levine: there’s the violent death caused by James Fields driving his car into people marching on Water Street?
Hill: that was after the rally…
Levine: there wasn’t a rally… the permit was for an event we just established never took place…no speeches were made?
Hill: depends on how you define the event… the permit was for people to gather
Levine: there was violence out in the street.. by participants in the alt-right?
Hill: by participants in the alt-right and participants in antifa and Black Lives Matter…
Levine: and that was the confrontation you were looking forward to, correct?
Hill: absolutely not
Levine: isn’t it a fact that the League of the South message that you wanted to communicate on saturday was that the league and its allies would own the streets and anyone who sought to demonstrate against them would be met with violence?
Hill: No that was not my message
Levine: wasn’t this what you meant when you sent that tweet ” If you want to defend western civilization from the jew and his allies.. come 12 August”?
Hill: absolutely not
Levine: you’d agree some of the violence was initiated by members of the League of the South?
Hill: yes some members engaged in violence that they initiated
Levine shows a News2Share video from the morning of August 12 that shows Michael Hill marching next to Matt Heimbach alongside/in front of a formation of League of the South members with shields and helmets
the court seems to be having some trouble getting any audio to play on the video exhibit
Levine stops the video and pauses it on a frame – “do you identity League of the South members with the black polo and the emblem” – the video shows several League members surrounding a counter-protester – “those are all League members, correct?”
Hill: “as far as I can tell”
Levine: “I would like you to focus on what the League of the South members are doing to that woman…” – the video shows League members pushing her, knocking her down, one maces here in the face apparently unprovoked after she gets back up from being knocked down
Levine circles all the men in the frame of video as one League member is spraying the mace, Michael Hill concedes they all seem to be League of the South members
Levine: “they pushed her down and then when she got back up, maced her… that wasn’t self-defense, correct?”
Hill: I don’t know, I would have to see the whole context, I don’t know what started the pushing and shoving…
Judge Moon: just go to a couple of seconds before that
Levine: ok (plays video)
Levine: the woman didn’t have any kind of weapon in her hands?
Hill: i don’t know…
Levine: that you could see…
Levine: she was walking out towards the other part of Market street when one of the League members grabs her, pulls her around and throws her down, isn’t that correct?
Hill: it appears the gentleman that approached her pushed her
Levine: in your deposition you admitted this was not an act of self-defense by a League member?
Hill: i think I said that about the mace.. I can’t remember about the other
Levine: the violence that day.. included the killing by James Fields of a woman named Heather Heyer… after the events you never condemned the killing publicly on behalf of the League.. you never even expressed remorse…?
Hill: that is correct
Levine: when Fields was convicted… you criticized that verdict saying “There is no justice for the white man in these damnable Jew-run courts”…?
Hill: I’d like to see the document where you allege I said that…
Levine pulls up an email where Hill wrote exactly that.
Levine: so you were actually telling Sam Dickson that the local Charlottesville courts are “Jew-run”?
Hill: I was speaking in general
Levine: In general? That seems pretty specific to me…
Levine: your co-defendant Michael Tubbs tweeted several times that ‘James Fields did nothing wrong’, isn’t that correct?
Hill: I’ve heard it alleged that he tweeted that
Alan Levine: so after Charlottesville.. you said to League members that you “wouldn’t change a thing” about what happened…?
Michael Hill: yes I did
Levine shows jury a tweet where Michael Hill wrote about Unite The Right – “I was there, in the middle of it all, leading the column that smashed through the leftist barricade. I am involved in legal affairs stemming from the event, but I would not go back and change a thing”
Levine is pulling up a podcast appearance of Michael Hill a few days after the Charlottesville rally – a clip is played for the jury and features Hill saying “I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this for the League…” in reference to Unite The Right
Levine: you also said on Twitter on August 12 that your “warriors had acquitted themselves as men”?
Hill: I certainly did and I’d say it again
Levine shows the tweet to the jury
Levine points out the tweet was sent around 2:30 PM on August 12 saying “The league of the south had a good day in Charlottesville…”
Levine: you didn’t have a speech you didn’t have a rally…
Levine: no further questions, your honor
Bryan Jones – lawyer for Michael Hill, Michael Tubbs and the League of the South – is up to cross-examine Michael Hill now
Jones: how old are you?
Hill: I’m 69 years old
Jones: how old were you when you founded the League?
Jones: does the League have a position on the removal of confederate monuments?
Hill: yes… we have a policy that we will go anywhere to defend monuments.. we had been to New Orleans to defend the Robert E. Lee statue… we came to Charlottesville to do the same thing.
Jones is going over the email where Hill called for “no discussion here… of any resistance strategies” and saying such convos should only happen through “secure channels”…
Hill: we knew antifa and Black Lives Matter would try to oppose us.. and we wanted to avoid them
Jones: in this email do you see any mention of using code words or code language?
Email between Michael Hill & Gordy Lockerbie – Lockerbie wrote “torchlight rally location has been leaked and Antifa is posting that they will be there. If LS is going to be in attendance, be cautious”
Hill replied to the email: “Thanks, but this is not our game. We are sending two observers”
Jones is asking Michael Hill about his 7/13/17 email with Michael Tubbs about his talking with Ike Baker about “on-the-ground planning for C’ville”. Email refers to the “Pikeville template”, Hill says that refers to a plan to arrive and leave safely without conflict w opponents
Jones: so it was your intention to participate in Charlottesville in the same manner that you had in Pikeville…?
Jones: was there a conspiracy to commit racial violence in Pikeville?
Hill: not that I know of
Jones: did you ask any members of the League to get in touch with the Charlottesville police in advance of the rally?
Hill: we wanted to let them know that our plans were to park in the Market Street garage..for security of our cars & bc it was close to the park, not a long walk
Jones shows Michael Hill another email that Levine had pulled up earlier.
Jones: it appears this email was sent on July, 7, 2017… Jones points out the part where Hill claimed that antifa would have firearms and explosives, asks if that’s what prompted him to get shields
Jones: was this the first time in your life that you had heard that antifa was a potentially violent organization?… and you weren’t surprised by that?
Hill: Not at all
Jones shows Michael Hill a post he made on the League of the South’s website on August 7, 2017 – “the League and the Unite The Right rally”
Jones: what are you advising League members to do?
Hill: obey all authorities..to keep order…obey all gun laws…do not verbally incite illegal behavior… engage in violence.. only in defense of your persons and compatriots and property.. .do not initiate physical contact
Jones: why did you post that?
Hill: I wanted our League members who were going to know what they were to do, and specifically what they were not to do.
Jones: in the leadup to Charlottesville were you aware of a Discord server… did you delegate someone to monitor it?
Hill: Ike Baker had made a Discord server for the Pikeville event so I knew he was familiar… I had him join the Charlottesville Discord
Jones asks Hill about the group staying at the Seven Oaks retreat on their way into Charlottesville for Unite The Right. Hill says that was done “on the recommendation of our logistics officer”
Jones: when you arrived at the Market Street parking garage, did you know whether the streets leading up to Emancipation Park were open for vehicle traffic?
Hill: It was closed to auto traffic and open only to foot traffic
Jones: was there some other rally happening that day?
Hill: I’d heard there were counter rallies
Jones: so bc there was a permit for Emancipation Park, the surrounding streets were blocked off.. who blocked the streets?
Hill: I suppose local law enforcement did
Jones is showing another exhibit – the same video Levine played before of counter-protesters standing with arms linked in the street before Hill’s group marches towards them.
Jones points out there is white and non-white ppl in the group, has Hill circle the few POCs he sees
Jones shows a picture of Michael Tubbs and Spencer Borum from the League of the South charging into counter-protesters. Jones circles and has Hill point out a Black person in the background
Jones: in a conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence, why would they push the white protesters?
Hill I don’t know
Jones shows Michael Hill his tweet Levine showed earlier where he says he “would not go back and change a thing” and also to “the column that smashed through the leftist barricade”
Jones: is that referring to the car attack or the torch rally?
Jones asks Hill if he attended any of the Richard Spencer/Identity Evropa afterparties, he says no. Jones asks Hill if he considers himself a “follower” of any of the codefendants as he lists off their names, Hill says no. Jones asks if he knew James Fields, Hill says no
Bryan Jones is done cross-examining Michael Hill.
Judge Moon calls for a 20 min recess
Richard Spencer is about to cross-examine Michael Hill.
Roberta Kaplan is discussing trial scheduling w Judge Moon right now, there’s been some confusion as to how long the trial will actually last for – it’s set to end Nov. 19 but may run later.
Jury is returning now
Richard Spencer: You’ve testified that you’re the founder and longtime President of the League of the South.. in that capacity would you deal with membership applications?
Hill: I have an office manager who handles that
Spencer: have I ever tried to join.. or donated to, your group?
Spencer: There was reference to a League of the South member Spencer Borum… we are different individuals?
Richard Spencer: have you ever been in communication with Richard Spencer?
Michael Hill: 5-6 years ago you invited me to speak at the National Policy Institute conference… I didn’t bc I’m a Christian and found out an avowed homosexual a was going to speak…
Spencer: when was the rally proper supposed to begin?
Hill: sometime around noon
Spencer: what would that event have been like?
Hill: all the ppl gathered in the park would turn their attention to where the speakers’ platform was… there would be speeches…
Spencer asks Michael Hill about his plans to speak, the plans for the themes in his speech etc
Spencer: why didn’t you deliver the speech?
Hill: the rally was declared an unlawful assembly and we were driven out of the park by the authorities
Richard Spencer: when you attended Unite The Right did you ever see Richard Spencer up close?
Hill: i don’t think I did
Spencer: Did you see Richard Spencer when you were marching down Market Street?
Hill: no I didn’t
Spencer: to your understanding who was the chief organizer of the Unite The Right rally?
Hill: Jason Kessler
Spencer: who invited you to speak?
Hill: Jason Kessler
Spencer: No further questions
Edward Rebrook, lawyer for Jeff Schoep and the National Socialist Movement, is crossing Michael Hill now
Rebrook: were you involved in any aspect of planning for Unite The Right with Jeff Schoep?
Hill: we coordinated our logistics of getting in and out of the city for the rally
Rebrook: beyond logistics were there any discussions of your intentions for the rally?
Hill: not that I recall
Rebrook: did you see Mr. Schoep or any NSM members at the torch march?
Hill: I was not at the torch march
Rebrook is done, Chris Cantwell (representing himself) will cross-examine Michael Hill now
Cantwell is asking Hill about the email w the phrase the “Pikeville model” which referred to the April 2017 neo-nazi rally in Pikeville, Kentucky where both Cantwell and Hill were present. Hill says he doesn’t remember meeting Cantwell there
Cantwell: from what you know about jails and prisons do you think you’d like to spend a lot of time in one?
Hill: No I do not
Cantwell: did you hide your face from any cameras on August 12?
Hill: No i did not
Cantwell shows a video that’s paused to show Michael Tubbs in front of a group of League of the South guys w shields. Cantwell circles a black and pink in the background that seems to belong to a counter-protester
Cantwell: while you were formed up in this area.. did you smell pepper spray?
Hill: yes I did
Cantwell shows Hill a video w a frame that shows pepper spray being sprayed by someone towards League of the South members with shields – Cantwell points out the outfit of the sprayer
Cantwell: have you ever read Mein Kampf?
Hill: yes…. as a graduate student in a German history proram
Cantwell: what were the circumstances in which Hitler wrote it?
Hill: [waxes poetic about Hitler’s biography]
Cantwell asks more stuff about Hitler and Hill clearly fawns over Hitler in his answers, then Cantwell is done.
Jason Kessler’s lawyer James Kolenich is cross-examining Michael Hill now, asking hill about the series of events that led to David Duke being invited to Unite The Right (or not, there is confusion)
Kolenich: before you left the market street parking garage the morning of August 12 do you remember Ike Baker giving a speech?
Hill: i might remember but idk
Kolenich plays a clip of Baker saying “we intend to be the first ones in that park… Kessler said he wouldn’t let us in the park…”
Kolenich: does that refresh your recollection that Baker didn’t like Jason Kessler
Kolenich asks Hill if he went along w Kessler’s plan about where to enter the park, Hill says no.
Kolenich: did you enter in to any agreement with Kessler to engage in race-based violence?
Kolenich is done, no re-direct so League of the South leader Michael Hill is done testifying now.
Thomas Baker (Plaintiff) Testimony
Roberta Kaplan calls witness Thomas Baker to the stand – Baker is also a plaintiff in the case
Baker is sworn in and sits down in the witness stand. Plaintiffs’ attorney David Mills with Integrity First For America will be questioning him on direct examination.
Asked to introduce himself, Baker says he lives in Charlottesville, graduated from college in NY in 2012 and grad school in 2017. In Charlottesville he’s owned an ecological consultant practice for about 5 years
Mills: where were you living in August 2017?
Baker: I was living in Charlottesville… since that previous May
Mills: you became aware of an event called Unite The Right?.. How..?
Baker: it was the buzz around town, everyone was talking about it
Baker: it was very clear that…what was happening very far transcended the removal of the statues… it was clear some of the groups that were coming in… were racist, anti-semitic, homophobic, violent….
Mills: did you have a view yourself about the removal of the statue, the Lee statue?
Baker: At the time I was undecided…
Mills: why did you decide to go downtown to Charlottesville for [Unite The Right]?
Baker: we had just moved here… being a new member of the city I wanted to show support… it was also clear that the people coming…and it was important to…stand up to these bullies who were intentionally trying to instill fear…
Baker: …when you know something is right and you might be fearful to stand up for it, that’s the time that you actually need to….
Mills: what made you believe that they were bringing violence into Charlottesville?
Baker:… I knew that they had a history of violence…
Mills: why did you go that day?
Baker: to be counted in support of my community and stand up to these outsiders, these bullies that were coming in…Kessler was the only one that I knew was local…
Mills: who else did you know was coming?
Baker: Richard Spencer
Mills: at this time in August 2017 did you know of something called antifa?
Baker: at that time i may have but I don’t think I knew anything specific…
Mills: were you ever a member of antifa or an adherent to its ideology?
Mills: before you went on August 12 did you know about what happened on August 11 the night before?
Baker: I knew that white supremacists instigated violence on students at the Jefferson statue at UVA
Mills: how did you prepare for violence you expected on saturday?
Baker: to maintain physical distance
Mills: did you bring any weapons with you?
Mills: what time did you go downtown?
Baker: sometime around 11
Mills: Did you go by yourself or with others?
Baker: Alone, my wife dropped me off… she was fearful of the potential violence
Mills: she let you go anyway?
Baker: it was a serious point of contention… I convinced her I would stay away from any potential violence…
Mills: were you aware of any groups that were planning to go as counter-protesters that day?
Baker: I knew that there would be some church groups…
Baker says he was dropped off by the library near Emancipation Park, says it felt like a secure place. Mills pulls up a map showing the area, has him draw an X on Emancipation Park and draw an arrow to show the route he took to arrive in the area
Mills: what did the scene look by the time that you got there?
Baker: the park was pretty well occupied by groups that were in consistent uniforms, khaki pants and white shirts… uniformed…outside of the park was a diversity of groups…some people had their arms locked
Mills: was there police on the scene?
Baker: there were some police, I remember there was a police car almost right in front of me
Mills: what happened after you arrived, what did you observe?
Baker: I saw smaller groups of protesters coming in, the ones with shields were just smashing through the counter-protesters. Once the park was kind of full… a lot of the protesters were charging out of the park, literally yelling “charge” and smashing into counter-protesters
Mills: did you observe counter-protesters blocking protesters?
Baker: I wouldn’t characterize it as blocking…there were just individuals who were just locking their arms.. not fully blocking the street
Mills: did you observe if protesters could get around the counter protesters?
Baker: they could get around, I got around
Baker: I remember in smaller groups the protesters would charge out of the park… run into the counter-protesters, hit them with their shields and their flagpoles, and then they would run back into the park – come out, have these quick attacks, and then run back into the park
Baker: when that would happen, the counter-protesters, some would run away, others would defend themselves and hit back…
Baker says he saw this happen at least “a dozen” times
Mills: did you see counter-protesters charge into the park?
Mills: did you ever see anything being thrown that day?
Baker: I did, yes
Mills: what did you say?
Baker: the cop car in front of me was getting pelted with items from inside the park.. balloons, some other objects
Mills: how could you tell that projectiles were coming from inside the park?
Baker: it was blatantly clear which direction these things were coming from… it was from inside the park
Mills: what were you focused on that day?
Baker: it was very clear that the aggression was very one-sided…if counter-protesters were defending themselves it did not justify the level of violence and aggression that was coming from inside the park…
Mills: how did you hear the unlawful assembly being declared?
Baker: I think i heard it over loudspeakers
Mills: the violence you observed, the protesters charging out of the park, did that occur before or after the unlawful assembly was declared?
Mills: did you take pictures that day?
Baker: my phone was shattered when I got hit by the car, the FBI tried to recover photos off my phone but they couldn’t
Mills: did you end up on Water Street at some point, did you see people there?
Baker: Yes…around 1:30 PM
Mills: did you join the group of individuals that were walking down water street?
Baker:Yes i did
Mills: earlier you said you were avoiding crowds of people, why would you join this crowd?
Baker: it was joyous, celebratory…it seemed peaceful… i felt safe…
Mills: what were they doing?
Baker: there were some banners and signs, some chants..it was an environment of joy and celebration and kindness
Mills: what were they celebrating?
Baker: I assume it was similar to what I was feeling which was happiness. that the violence had left our city
Mills: did you see any weapons in that crowd?
Mills: so what happened next?
Baker: we took a left up 4th street…i was nearing the front of this group of people… it wasn’t long after walking up 4th street that I heard… loud thumps, I see bodies in the air… this all happened within a second… then the car was directly in front of me
Baker: i tried to get light on my feet… the car had, I was just off center of the car & it hit my lower half… it then propelled my face and my chest, my torso, into the windshield of the car and it flipped me over top of the car… I landed on my side…
Mills plays the jury the now-infamous video of the celebratory crowd marching up the street as James Fields’ car suddenly plows into the group
Mills: you described bodies being hit by the vehicle… it’s hard to hear those in the video, can you describe for the jury?
Baker: I can’t think of any other descriptors – it’s the sound of metal crashing into bodies, very very distinctive thumps and screams…
Mills shows a picture of the crowd marching right as Fields’ car is approaching.
Mills: can you see yourself in this picture…?
Baker: yes (circles himself – he’s right in front of the car)
Mills shows another pic – it shows the car hitting the crowd – Baker circles himself, he can be seen being thrown several feet up into the air.
Mills shows a photo of Fields’ car after it hit the crowd. Baker indicates the part of the broken windshield where he hit it
Baker calls the feeling of getting hit as “catastrophically violent…it’s like the force doesn’t leave the body, the violence that your body absorbs, it’s like it just doesn’t leave and you absorb the entirety of that impact”
Thomas Baker said he landed on his right side and his back and was “absolutely confident that I was going to die at that moment… once I hit the ground.. I was in such shock that I didn’t die…”
Baker said he saw the car was reversing so “I got up as fast as I could” and saw a guy “clearly in shock so.. I don’t know why I did this so I just picked him up” to get out of the way of the car. Says after that he fell, and felt the adrenaline leave his body, and collapsed.
Mills shows Baker a photo, Baker says it shows him in the hospital after he was hit by the car.
Mills: what do these photos show?
Baker: … they had temporarily casted me arm… was cleaned up by that point, had a bandage on my nose…
Baker says the photo doesn’t show the initial swelling in his arms and hip – “the swelling was so severe when they did the X-rays that they couldn’t tell if anything was broken”
Mills: can you briefly tell the jury what injuries you sustained?
Baker: I had a concussion, lacerations all over my body, a torn ligament in my left wrist, a torn labrum to my right hip
Baker’s wrist was casted for 6 weeks, a sling for a while after that. “I’m told to likely experience arthritis in the future”. The injury to his hip was much more severe – his hip ligament was “almost completely torn off” – he didn’t know at first how bad that injury was
Thomas Baker is describing the surgery he had to have to repair his hip. Said the surgery worked as it was hoped to but has has permanently lost a lot of mobility and lives with chronic pain
Mills shows the jury another exhibit, this one is a chart describing Bakers’ past medical expenses, treatments, costs
Mills showed the jury another spreadsheet with estimates of lost wages from the weeks of work he missed after the car attack.
Baker says things like someone dropping a book can trigger intense flashbacks to the attack
Thomas Baker: “Prior to August 12 I was physically healthy..played competitive sports..did a lot of hiking..these are just not things I can do anymore”
Mills: are these physical limitations.. permanent?
Mills: thank you for your testimony today. Nothing further
A few of the defendants declined to cross-examine Thomas Baker. Richard Spencer is crossing him now
Spencer: you said hearing about the rally was the buzz around town… and the two names you were aware of were Mr. Kessler and myself… how did you become aware of Richard Spencer?
Baker: I can’t recall specifically.. buzz around social media
Spencer: how did you hear about Mr. Kessler?
Baker: it would have been similar
Spencer: How did you understand Mr. Kessler in relation to the Unite The Right rally?
Baker: that he was an organizer, a leader of that, to some degree
Spencer: during August 12 you described how you went near the park, circled back around…at any point did you see me?
Baker: I very well may have but… I wouldn’t have been able to pick you out…
Spencer: no further questions
Chris Cantwell is next to cross-examine Thomas Baker
Cantwell: did I catch correctly you say that you don’t know exactly how you found out about the rally?
Cantwell: do you know who [lists off like 11 names] is?
Cantwell: you said that you knew the people coming were bullies?
Baker: I meant to say more severe than bully but..yes
Cantwell: you knew the people who were coming had a history of racist and anti-Semitic violence, can you speak to the specifics of that?
Baker: I knew that groups like the KKK were coming…
Cantwell: you stated that you knew these groups had a history of racist and anti-Semitic violence, is it your testimony now that all you knew about that was the KKK?
Baker: the KKK, Jason Kessler
Cantwell (raising voice loudly): you knew that Jason Kessler had a history of racist and anti-Semitic violence?
Baker: anti-Semitic rhetoric and instigation
Cantwell: is it now your testimony that on August 12, 2017 you had no information linking Jason Kessler to racist and anti-Semitic violence?
Cantwell: prior to August 12 did you know that anyone attending the rally had a history of racist and anti-Semitic violence?
Baker: specific people, no
Cantwell: but you knew they had said racist things, was that just about as bad?
Baker: no, not at all
Cantwell: you didn’t know about antifa at all at that time… and you had lived in Charlottesville since May 2017?
Cantwell: you said you knew a few church groups would be counter-protesting… do you know anything about the Clergy Collective? Congregate Cville?
Cantwell: you said that you can’t deny that projectiles were launched into the park?
Cantwell: you said that the FBI tried to take some pictures of your phone, so you took pics that day, did you take any video?
Cantwell with an agitated demeanor is asking Baker if he saw red bandanas, saw any counter-protesters with shields or flagpoles, wearing helmets or goggles etc
Cantwell: you described the atmosphere of the crowd on Water Street as “celebratory” etc… the crowd then turned on 4th street and that’s where you got hit by the car…you didn’t see anybody carrying baseball bats, clubs, nothing like that?
Baker: not that I recall, no
Cantwell shows an exhibit to Baker – “do you see that guy smashing James Fields’ car with a club?”
Plaintiffs object, Judge Moon sustains
Cantwell is playing a slowed-down video of the car attack to Baker, apparently to have him say if he sees anyone hitting James Fields’ car with any flagpoles or clubs etc
Cantwell: do you see anybody wearing masks?
Baker: i don’t remember that, I do remember people dressed as clowns
Cantwell: do you see anybody wearing leaded gloves?
Cantwell: you didn’t see any baseball bats?
Judge Moon: He’s already said he did not
Cantwell: no further questions
Plaintiff Thomas Baker’s testimony is done now. Judge Moon dismisses the jury for the weekend, reminds the next Thursday is a federal holiday so no court.
Roberta Kaplan tells Judge Moon that the plaintiffs want to hear from the defendants “how many trial dates they think they need” regarding planning for the rest of the case – the defense says they can have answer on that by Monday.
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