Sines v. Kessler Rush Transcript – Day 2: Jury Selection Cont’d

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.

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.

Unite The Right On Trial:

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 2 – Oct 26, 2021 (Collected from this tweet thread)

Day 2 of the Sines v Kessler Charlottesville Nazi rally civil rights lawsuit is getting underway now – Judge Norman Moon just took the bench. Jury selection began yesterday and continues today. Tweets from yesterday can be found in the thread here.

One of the Nazi’s defense lawyers is in the emergency room but Kessler/Damigo/Identity Evropa’s lawyer James Kolenick will be handling his client for jury selection. Plainitffs also raise an isue they say they researchd last night they want addressed before the end of Voir Dire

Judge Moon is bringing in the first jury panel for today (the third so far) now. By our count, 7 jurors were seated to the jury panel yesterday, leaving 5 left to select. The alt-right defendants have been eager to hone in on views about “antifa” when contesting potential jurors.

Judge Moon is reminding the new potential jurors about courthouse measures about COVID-19, everyone is to wear a mask except when speaking to the court. Moon also explains how access to the courthouse has been restricted (closed to the public)

Court clerk is swearing in the juror panel now so Voir dire questioning should begin on them shortly one at a time. They’re being asked about the list of names of plaintiffs, defendants and counsel to make sure none of them know them personally.

Judge Moon is giving the jurors an overview of the case -it’s a civil suit brought by multiple plaintiffs against multiple ppl and orgs involved in august 11-12, 2017 ‘Unite The Right’ & related events in Charlottesville.

Plaintiffs allege defendants planned and carried out racially motivated violence, causing plaintiffs physical emotional and mental harm.

This includes the violent torch march as well as violence on August 12 including the car attack which injured 7 of the plaintiffs. Defendants deny responsibility to injuries/damage to plaintiffs

(Correction to earlier tweet, 8 total possibly seated jurors were selected yesterday:…)

Now the court is reading lists of witnesses to make sure the potential jurors aren’t related to any of them

Jurors are going to be questioned individually now

A juror whose number wasn’t read on the media room feed (audio cuts in late sometimes) is being questioned now, she appears to be a white woman and says jury duty wouldn’t be too much of a burden for her to do it, no medical concerns etc

Asked if she was downtown during the events of Unite The Right, this juror says “no we shut our office down.” Asked if she blames on side from the event more than an another, she says no. Also says no when asked if she has a bias towards either side

Judge Moon asks for questions from plaintiffs and defense, looks like both are handing up Qs. Asked about q #72 on her jury questionnaire re: setting aside preconceived opinions – “from my point of view both parties are absolutely wrong.”

This is juror #215

215 on Q 33 on questionnaire said she has an “extremely unfavorable” view of Black Lives Matter and asked to explain. “I have lived in Charlottesville for ten years, and since this rally…”

“…this movement has caused a lot of chaos, its disrupted a lot of businesses, a lot of poeple socialize…everyone has the right to an opinion, but i thinl that the way you force is upon, it has gone in the wrong direction.”

215 also wrote she disapproved of the removal of Confederate statues because of “southern pride”

On her questionnaire 215 also said she was concerned about discrimination against white and jewish people but not discrimination against black or hispanic people.

Asked about Unite The Right, 215 says she’s “frustrated that it went down in our town the way it did…it made a joke out of our city at the time and I don’t support it at all”

215 works in senior living and works with vulnerable seniors, concerned about covid exposure from court.

Judge Moon asks 215 if she can set aside her opinions that “both parties” in Unite the Right were wrong, to decide based on court evidence alone if the defendants came to Charlottesville for the purpose of committing racially motivated violence, if the plaintiffs prove so

215 agrees that she could decide either for the plaintiffs or the defendants based on whether the evidence supports either case.

Another question for 215, “who do you think both sides are” in Unite The Right – “the black lives matter movement and the antifa movement… they knew there was a state of emergency… they still came to town…”

Judge Moon: you said antifa and Black Lives Matter, where there any other parties you were aware of [at Unite The Right]?

215: those are the ones I’m aware about.

Judge Moon: the plaintiffs do not identify themselves as either group. Are the defendants over here, you heard their names mentioned, have you reached any opinion about whether they are also at fault, when you said both parties are at fault, do you include them?

215: I try to stay away from the case… I really didn’t want to know what all went on

Moon: i want to get it clear when you said both parties were at fault…I wanted to be sure who you include in “both parties”

215: those are the parties I’m aware of

Moon: so you think antifa and BLM were {the parties] involved

215: yes

Judge Moon: if evidence comes out that antifa/BLM were on one side would you still be able to find in favor of either party?

215: i don’t understand the question

215: so the “white side that came in, the KKKs…that’s the side that I’m against…they created a war in our city…does that make more sense

Moon: well… I think the evidence is that antifa and BLM would be on one side and the groups you just mentioned would be on the other, is that what you meant…

215: yes sir

Q: do you think all groups have the right to demonstrate publicly?

215: yes

Q: does that include radical communists and atheists?

215: no

Moon: would you be able to find in favor of the communists and atheists, that they didn’t cause the problem, if they were attacked?

215: if that was what happened that wouldn’t be a problem

Moon: if they were injured and they proved by..evidence that someone else caused the injury could you find in their favor?

215: absolutely, if they were provoked and attacked that’s not right, regardless of what they were doing

215 asked if she can judge defendants separately, not assume all are liable because one is found liable, can she separate them in her mind during deliberations. Says yes she can

Q: what did you learn prior to Unite The Right that caused you to shut your office down?

215: there was multiple threats that went through, the office just decided to shut down bc there was a state of emergency… we decided it would be best to not be involved in the situation

Q: you said the community of Charlottesville is still dealing with this, can you explain what you mean?

215: yesterday there was a man chased down in the parking lot of Staples because of this…things happen on the downtown mall… “it turns into nothing, of ‘you’re black, you’re white’, it turns into a race war since that date…”

Q: did you hear anything about who was responsible [for violence at Unite The Right?]

215: I did not

Judge Moon sends 215 (middle aged white woman) back to the jury room, reminds her not to discuss the case

Judge Moon asks for objections to dismissing 215 for cause – Karen Dunn for the plaintiffs is arguing for dismissing her, saying she clearly has a lot of related experiences and opinions – “it’s very hard if not impossible to believe she could put that aside…”

“She believed both sides are antifa and Black Lives Matter and that is an opinion based on her personal experience… it requires a level of thought in this case where she’s exclusively regards to responsibility..on two groups..”

“…her immediate answer was ‘BLM and antifa’…that was her frame of reference for responsibility…she also said radical communists and atheists do they have a right to demonstrate, her immediate answer was no…answers to all these Qs were extremely concerning…

“…bc of her insider knowledge this is a juror that other jurors could look to so this is a huge risk” – Karen Dunn for the plaintiffs

Richard Spencer and Brian Jones from the defense say they agree w the plaintiffs about juror 215

“I think given her closeness to the situation she’s…significantly influenced by what has happened…I will striker her for cause” – Judge Moon

Judge Moon asks if anyone knows what 215 meant about the Staples incident. Roberta Kaplan says “there was some sort of altercation in town about racial issues that people believe was sparked by this trial”

Next potential juror is in for Voir dire now – no. 218

Asked about expected hardship from 4 weeks of jury duty says “yes and no… I’m going through a difficult separation right now…” (seems to mean a breakup)

Asked if she’s formed opinions about the case, 218 says “I have a lot of friends who were a part of the case on August 12 and were suffering from the aftermath… so I would say I have an already sort of formulated feeling about what happened that day…”

Judge Moon: on q 72 you said you would be able to set aside preconceived opinions about the Unite The Right rally…could you do that?

218: I like to think that I’m constantly looking at things from all angles…

Judge Moon: the fact that you’ve had friends who suffered from some effects of the altercation… do you think that would make it difficult to find in favor of the defense if it isn’t proven that the defendants came w intention of committing racially motivate violence?

218: I’ve given a lot of thought to the events over the years and I don’t think i have a formulated opinion…there’s a lot of missing information… I’m not a part of the activist community on either side… but I’m definitely anti-violence…

Qs submitted from defense which Judge Moon will ask potential juror 218 (younger or middle aged white woman) now: …have you formed any opinion as to who might have been responsible for suffering…?

218: no, one of the people hurt was my son’s after school teacher… he was severely beaten.. but to this day I don’t understand what happened or why it happened…

218: I also had multiple friends that were on the road when Heather Heyer was hit, but… I wasn’t here… to this day I don’t understand any of it

Q: Your friends who were part of the event, could you set aside what you have heard from your friends and not allow it to affect you?

218: I haven’t talked to them about it, I was firmly in a place of not getting involved and encouraging other people not to get involved

218: with the James Fields situation it seems like something that happened and was definitely wrong

Judge Moon: I don’t think you would be asked to believe that didn’t happen

218 was in a different car accident herself and asked if that would influence her, she says “I honestly don’t know how to answer that”

Q: did your friend tell you who had beat him?

218: I never spoke to him after that incident I just heard it was him

Q: is he a plaintiff in the case?

218: I did not hear his name come up, no

218 confirms that the person she knew from her son’s school was named Deandre (so this is likely Deandre Harris who was beaten by nazis in the Market Street Parking garage) 218 claims she doesnt really know him personally but that “he was a positive influence on the school there”

Asked if she could be impartial 218 chokes back tears and says “now that i’m here i realize this is bringing up a lot of stuff for me so I really don’t know”

Judge Moon: her personal problems are pretty bad to have to sit through a 4-week jury trial

Karen Dunn: this is a difficult situation bc I’m trying to heed the court’s instructions about comparing jurors…

Moon: I know divorce is difficult

Cantwell or Spencer (couldn’t tell) interrupts and Moon tells them to shut up

Karen Dunn (plaintiffs): what i’m trying to say if that people handle things differently… yesterday we saw a man who said he had severe anxiety but was still found qualified… I think people exhibit their circumstances differently…

Moon: i know they do, my mother used to laugh when everyone else would cry, I’m not a psychiatrist, I can’t tell who is distressed and who is not but it seems to me the lady was feeling pretty bad

Dunn: i think we’ve seen jurors in this court who have had severe anxiety issues who have been qualified over our objections so we just want the court to consider it…

Defense says the juror is likely disqualified due to her connections to Deandre Harris “who was beaten by people in the parking garage…resulting in convictions of people related to this case…”

Richard Spencer: I have a lot of empathy for that woman going through this divorce…she has a 12 year old son…

James Fields’ lawyer brings up that she was injured in a car accident.

Judge Moon will excuse this juror (seems to mostly be due to her divorce)

Potential juror 220 is up now, asked about potential burden of serving on a jury for four weeks he says he isn’t concerned. No medical concerns etc

220 wrote on his jury questionnaire that he lives nearby where the Unite The Right rally occurred. Judge Moon asks if he has any opinions about the issues in this case

220: i’m not even sure what the issues are in the case at this point

220 says he would “classify myself as center-left… but i don’t think that would bias me in my interpretation of the case…”

Q from defense: you described your view of antifa as ‘extremely favorable’, can you tell us about that, have you heard anything about antifa’s connection w the Unite The Right rally?

220: i don’t know about that connection, i consider antifa to be short for anti-fasicst, i would consider myself an anti-fascist like a GI in World War 2 was an antifascist.

Q: you said you were concerned about racism but not racism against white people, can you explain that?

220: I’ve experienced a lot of privilege in my life and have never experienced racism

Q: you said you were favorable towards Black Lives Matter and antifa, could you set those opinions aside and reach a verdict in the case based solely on the evidence you hear?

220: i think i could

Q: could you set aside your personal opinions… and not allow it to effect you in reaching a verdict in this case?

220: i could

Q: you said that your views are center-left, where would you place antifa on the scale?

220: all the way to the left

Cantwell asks about Daily Kos, which the jury questionnaire probably says he read

220: it’s a news source, a blog.. I think Post-Journal is also on there

Asked to assess where Daily Kos is on the political spectrum 220 says “I don’t think its as far left as antifa”

Q: do you think the defendants are fascists?

220: i don’t think i’ve formed an opinion

Q: does everyone including white nationalists have a right to gather?

220: yes, if they have a permit, they have the right. I do have a problem with some of these gatherings when they come in so heavily armed.. but it’s in the constitution, the right to assemble…

Q: on the Thom Hartmann program, have you heard him talk about Richard Spencer?

220: I’ve heard ppl talk about Spencer but not sure if it was on that show or not

Q: you’ve said that you oppose fascism, can you tell us what you consider fascism to be?

220: an authoritarian, non-democratic form of government with a single leader, Hitler and Mussolini are examples, I like our democracy and want to keep living in it…

Q: can you set aside any preconceived opinions and try this case solely according to the law and the evidence you hear in the courtroom?

220: i believe i can, yes

Judge Moon sends 220 back to jury room

Cantwell asks Judge Moon to strike 220, saying he has “extreme views about antifa”, cites “burning and looting in the second half of 220″… “he has an extremely favorable view of a group that hunts the defendants like dogs in the streets”

Judge Moon says the juror says he could set his views aside.

Another defense attorney complains that 220 “went right up to the line of identifying himself as an antifa”

Richard Spencer: the idea that he’s a Daily Kos reader and watches the Thom Hartmann program and hasn’t heard of Richard Spencer is incredible… I think he’s lying to get on the jury

Judge Moon: i think that based on his answer he could set aside preconceived notions and try the case based on the law and the evidence… I do not think he is disqualified

Judge Moon calls for a break (probably ~10 mins)

Morning Break

Court is back, Judge Moon is beginning Voir dire with potential juror 221 who seems to be a white woman from the video feed in the media room. She says she wouldn’t be unduly burdened by four weeks of jury duty and doesn’t have medical issues preventing her from sitting for hours

Judge Moon: you answered ‘no’ on the questionnaire when asked if you could set aside opinions…?

221: I am very against protests and riots, i have always been against protests… i have never seen the need for a protest… you can vote…people should stay at home… protests…just tear up the town or city and cost taxpayers more money…”

221: “I don’t see how they could say they came to do racially motivated things because I don’t think they could plan on that”

Judge Moon: if the plaintiffs presented evidence that they did, could you find for the plaintiff?

221: if i thought they did, yes

Q: if you said in your questionnaire your brother was murdered, would that affect your ability to decide in this case?

221: no

Q: you said in your questionnaire that it’s wrong to remove the confederate statue, what do you mean by that?

221: I think it’s wrong to remove our history

Q: when asked if you could be fair and impartial, you wrote “people should never tear up a city or a town with a protest, you should stay at home and be safe”

221: I’ve never felt the need for a protest

Q: have you formed an opinion who was responsible for violence on august 12, 2017? You don’t find one at fault more than another?

221: no

Q: on your questionnaire you said the only racism you’re concerned about is racism against white people, what did you mean by that?

221: I don’t like when they have Black Lives Matter signs, they should be all lives matter signs so I don’t go along wth any of it

Q: do you find yourself favoring either side in this case. as you sit here today?

221: Not right now, i don’t know the facts

Q: do you have any opinion as to who caused the violence?

221: no

Q: you wrote that “protests lead to more violence”. In this case the evidence will be that all of the parties were protesting, and protests are lawful..protests are lawful whether we agree with them or not…would if affect you in this case whether the plaintiffs were protesters?

221: I just don’t like protesters. I’ve never liked protesters. I just don’t think it’s right

Q: could you set aside your preconceived notions about protesting and other things, based solely on the law that the court gives you and the evidence in the case?

221: i will try

Q: how sure are you that you can do so?

221: 75 percent

Q from the plaintiffs’ side: You said that you did not believe that people could plan to commit racially motivated violence, can you explain why you believe that they cannot?

221: I don’t think they have that in their mind starting that, i think they just get together in their group with people where, they’re just in the group together motivated with, but they don’t start planning anything …

You said you were concerned about racism against white people because of Black Lives Matter signs. What about the signs makes you not concerned about racism against Black people?

221: it just makes me irritated, you see the street all marked up with signs, it should be all lives matter, it should be for everyone

Q: do you believe that free speech is an essential right for all Americans?

221: yes

Q: if you heard that Black Lives Matter and antifa were some of the counter-protesters at Unite The Right rally would you be inclined to believe they caused some of the violence?

221: I knew antifa would

Q: even though you don’t like protesting do you believe organizations like Black Lives Matter have the right to protest?

221: i believe they have the right but I don’t agree with it

Q: If plaintiffs prove by a preponderance of the evidence that defendants planned to commit racially motivated violence, could you find for the plaintiffs?

221: probably

Judge Moon excuses 221 back to the jury room, tells her not to discuss the case in there

Judge Moon asks for motions to remove 221 for cause

Karen Dunn for plaintiffs: multiple strong reasons to remove for cause

Defense counsel: we oppose her being struck for cause

Judge Moon: i’m going to strike her for cause, she said she’s 75 percent sure she could render a fair verdict, her preconceived notions are too strong.

Potential juror # 230 in for Voir dire now

230 says her hardship from 4 weeks of jury duty would be bad, she works alone at a private practice as a therapist with 40 clients many of whom are in crisis, some are suicidal or working with addictions. “I don’t know what I would do, I guess I’d fit them in on the weekends”

Judge Moon is excusing 230 for hardship

Potential juror 233 is up now – asked if 4 weeks jury duty would be a serious problem more than the average person, says he works for an emergency call group for the city of Charlottesville but that he could get himself covered

Asked if he thinks white nationalists have the right to rally, he says yes. Sent back to jury room, now it’s on to the next juror

Potential juror 234 coming in now

Potential juror 234 asked about hardship due to 4 weeks of jury service, if that’s a particular problem. Says yes, he’s a self-employed contractor in building and remodeling and work doesn’t happen without him as sub-contractors rely on him.

Asked if he has work projects right now, 234 says he has a bunch going right now and “I was supposed to start one today”, he seems very ready to be excused

Judge Moon says 234 has the right to be excused for substantial hardship, no objection from defense or plaintiffs. 235 is next

Potential juror 235 – older white guy w gray hair and beard – says 4 weeks jury service shouldn’t be a problem, only works part-time and his employer is understanding

Asked if he could be impartial, 235 says “I may have a hard time being impartial in this trial, your honor, i have a hard time believing this many groups and individuals could come together in a single place and time without conspiring to do so ahead of time…”

Judge Moon: are you biased against one side or the other?

235: “I am biased against the defense, I believe they’re evil, they’re organizations are evil and I would find it hard to set that aside”

Judge Moon: I don’t see how this juror can stay

Chris Cantwell: I want to ask him a couple of questions

Richard Spencer: it wouldn’t be the first time that someone has called me evil before, I think he’s a bit confused about the nature of the trial and that’s ok

Another defense lawyer complains about being seen next to Cantwell and Spencer, calls it “prejudicial” to have to be next to them: “I have no idea what these two think they’re doing”

Judge Moon excuses potential juror # 235

Potential juror 241, last one in this panel, is coming into court now

241 is a white woman with graying hair. Asked about burden of 4 weeks of jury duty, she says yes its a problem. “I’m self-employed so if I don’t work i’ll lose my clients”

Judge Moon excuses 241 for financial hardship, no objection from defense or plaintiffs

Now the court is going through the jurors that haven’t been excused or struck for cause

Jurors left seem to be 233 & 220 (not totally sure bc court clerk reading these numbers sounds like she is as far away from the microphone as possible)

Court clerk explains to jurors that they will be now referred to by randomized numbers and not the numbers previously assigned to them

Juror # 4 – both sides pass

Juror # 8 – defense challenges

Juror 233 told to report to clerk’s office for further instructions. So this means 1 more juror has been seated on the jury panel for the trial, bringing it to a total of 9 out of the needed 12. 8 were seated yesterday

The next jury panel was told to come in at 2 PM so Judge Moon takes the court into recess until then.

If you’re just now following, these tweets are live updates from the court media room at the federal trial of the ‘Sines v Kessler’ civil rights lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence at the August 2017 #UniteTheRight Nazi rally in Charlottesville, VA

4th jury panel is coming in now.

Potential jurors # 243, 245, 250, 252, 254, 255, 257, 258,261, 262, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 272, 274 are being sworn in for Voir dire

Potential juror 243 is the first in for jury selection questions this afternoon – just sat down in the booth, is a Black man who looks to be in his 30s-40s

243 says serving on the jury for four weeks wouldn’t be a problem for him.

Asked if he has bias or prejudice against any of the parties in the case or opinions about them, 243 says no

Judge Moon asks for questions for juror 243 to be submitted seems like a few of the defendants and counsel passing Qs up

Asked if he could assess defendants separately, 243 says yes. Asked if he thinks white nationalists have the right to hold public demonstrations, he says yes

243’s questionnaire said he had previously been on a jury for a civil trial and that he felt justice was served, asked to explain he says, ” a person had committed a crime he was guilty of”

Q: one of your children attended the University of Virginia, does that affect your feelings in this case?

243: no

243 is sent back to the jury room.

Potential juror 245 (seems to be a middle aged white guy) is being questioned now, asked about problems from four weeks or jury service, says he had a vacation scheduled for around the 15th. Asked by Judge Moon if he could reschedule the vacation, he says “i think so”

245 says he isn’t biased or prejudiced against either side in the case

Asked about his questionnaire answer re BLM 245 says “i believe in the message but I’m not sure about the organization, I’ve seen some things that I’m not sure were correct, like the building that got destroyed in Lynchburg, I believe it was by the BLM people..”

245 says he sees ‘antifa’ as “domestic terrorists” because “of what I’ve seen on tv and the internet”

On his questionnaire 245 says he doesn’t think antisemitism is much of a problem. Asked to say more he says “I just don’t believe that today we have that problem, maybe we do in parts of the world, where I live I just don’t see that problem, i’m not aware of it…”

245 has a brother who once worked in law enforcement – “You might hear things critical of the police, would that affect things you might think about this case?” – Judge Moon

“Perhaps” – 245

In his questionnaire 245 says he was “slightly concerned” about racism against white people. asked to explain he says “I think the world right now it’s a lot of anger on both sides, or at least it appears that way in the news and it’s concerning on both sides”

Asked if his brother’s work. asa police captain could affect his view of this case, 245 says his brother mentioned the Charlottesville rally looking like “the police were not doing the job to keep the violence at bay.”

Judge Moon says “the police are not on trial here”, says the defendants are alleged to have conspired to carry out racially motivated violence. Asked if he could keep his brother’s comments out of his decision making process 245 says yes.

Asked if his view would be skewed if he heard antifa was involved in Unite The Right, 245 says “I would be suspicious but it depends on the evidence”

Potential juror 245 is sent back to the jury room by Judge Moon

Karen Dunn for the plaintiffs is asking Judge Moon about comments 245 made about comments from 245’s cop brother that seem to be influencing his view of the case.

Dunn says the comments about “police not keeping the violence at bay” mirror the defendant’s claims about police being responsible for violence breaking out

Judge Moon is calling potential juror 245 back in

Moon: ” I need to be clear about what your brother told you about the police… he told you that they did not do their job…?”

245: correct

Moon: would that influence you in this case?

245: no

Judge moon sends potential juror 245 back to the jury room again.

No objections for cause from the defense of plaintiffs, 245 passes

Potential juror 250 is up now, Judge Moon asks about how in his questionnaire answer 72 he wrote “no… I personally find these individuals guilty and they are heinous for their actions…” when asked if he could set aside his preconceptions about the rally and the case

Asked now if he could set aside his preconceptions, 250 says he thinks he can.

“I guess at first when thinking about the action it was tough to push aside those notions, but then being here today and thinking strictly about the specifics of the case and what it could be, I think i could do that and be able to do my duty with that” -250

250 is asked if he can follow the law when deciding the case even if he dislikes defendants and their beliefs, he says yes he can

Q: Can you say why you think you think the defendants are guilty?

250: Mostly based of off what I’ve seen in news coverage and from talking to people

Moon: do you know anyone who engaged in the rally on one side or the other?

250: no

Q: can you be more specific about what made you change your answer about being able to disregard your bias?

250: Has to do w reflection after telling my class about doing jury duty, I’m a teacher and I told my civics class

Q: can you tell us why you think antifa are white supremacists? (He wrote this on his questionnaire apparently)

250: I don’t recall that answer, I may have gotten confused with that specific question

Q: are the people you associate yourself with anti-fascist?

250: no

250 is sent back to the jury room

Defense is making a motion to dismiss 250 for cause, “he says twice in his questionnaire that the defendants are heinous”

Plaintiffs say 250 should stay, based on his answers today when asked by the court if he could be impartial

Joshua Smith for the defense (representing David Matthew Parrott, Matt Heimbach and Traditionalist Worker Party) says “the plaintiffs are obviously very happy with this juror” and Judge Moon gets mad, tells Smith not to comment about the plaintiffs

“I’m not satisfied that the court should accept his statement that he can change that easily from what he said [in the jury questionnaire] so I’m going to discharge him for cause” – Judge Moon re potential juror 250

Potential juror 252, a Black woman, is on the stand now. Asked about the burden four weeks of jury duty could pose, she says she works at Western State Hospital and there is currently a critical staffing shortage

Judge Moon says “it seems that she has a critical job at this day and time and so I’m going to excuse her”

Juror #254 is up for Voir dire now

254, a white woman, says she is a home care giver and “being away for a month is not going to go well”, says one of the families she can’t be replaced if she’s gone

on Q 72 on the questionnaire, 254 wrote “no” in regards to setting aside preconceptions about the event, she had written “if private citizens had not created the violence the event would not have gone the way it did”

Judge Moon says 254 is disqualified based on her job circumstances so he’s striking her

Potential juror 255, a white guy, is in for questioning now, says four weeks jury duty wouldn’t be good bc he works for a generator service company and noone else can do his job, when he’s away “nothing can get done”

Judge Moon excuses 255 from jury duty

10 minute break now

Early Afternoon Break

Potential juror # 257 (older white lady) is up for Voir dire now. Judge Moon asks her about burdens 4 weeks of jury duty could pose, she says she should be fine. Works in human services helping disabled people, her employer can adjust

Asked about medical limitations impacting sitting through the trial, 257 says “I broke my foot but sitting’s not an issue”

257 said on her questionnaire she “was acquainted with the girl who was killed and would have a hard time” being impartial. Asked by Judge Moon if she can set that aside, she says “I don’t know if i can… I don’t know how objective I could be”

Judge Moon: have you formed an opinion already as to who is at fault in this case?

257: yeah

Moon: who is at fault?

257: “the racists, the people who started the riot”

Judge Moon excuses potential juror 257

Potential juror 258 is up now, says four weeks of jury duty shouldn’t be a problem

258 is asked about a Q on his questionnaire where he mentioned having a “lack of empathy for the case…disinterest in the case…strong distrust for the legal system”

“I was living in the city of Charlottesville at the time of this incident, I remember it vividly, I was anxious enough that I took my son and we left the city for the day, for that Saturday, my lack of empathy for the case is…

my opinion is that both sides showing up that day were assuming the risk, both sides got hurt and that’s wrong, that should be made right, but I have a lack of empathy for folks showing up that day to protest and counter-protest” – 258

Asked by Judge Moon if he still has preconceived opinions that he would have a hard time setting aside, 258 says yes

Judge Moon says he is excusing potential juror 258 for cause

Potential juror # 261 is up for Voir dire now – an older Black man who says he works at the FBI academy in Quantico and he has to fill out a form every week so being behind four weeks, he isn’t sure he could catch up

Judge Moon asks 261 if he feels more sympathetic to one side or the other, he says no

Judge Moon asks 261 about a questionnaire answer where he said “his political party and what he felt about the former president” and asks if that would make it hard for him to be impartial, he says “I think so”

Asked by Judge Moon if he could set aside any preconceived notions he may have, 261 says “I don’t know that I could”

Judge Moon says 261 is “too set” and he will excuse him

Juror 262 is in for questioning now, older looking white guy in a light blue button up shirt

262 says four weeks of jury duty would be a problem for him, he’s self-employed and has “clients that rely on me every day for investment decisions” and helps care for his wife

Judge Moon says he is excusing 262, citing financial harm he would incur if he served on the jury

Potential juror 265 is coming in next

265, a Black woman, says she can serve on a jury for four weeks without significant economic hardship

Asked if she is biased about issues in the case, 265, says no

265 asked if she could separate her view of one defendant from another based on whether or not the plaintiffs had met the burden of proof, she says yes

265 wrote in her questionnaire that she had not heard about the Unite The Right rally, Judge Moon asks her to clarify. She said she saw a bit on TV but doesn’t know much, usually changes the channel when it comes on “its a lot of negative stuff… I have other things I focus on”

Asked if she thinks groups including “white nationalists and fascists” have the right to march and parade as long as they do so lawfully, 265 says “yes, I do”

265 didn’t fill out the section on her questionnaire about who she does or doesn’t admire, she said she doesn’t really admire anyone except her parents

Q (likely from defense): have you ever referred to anyone as a white supremacist?

265: no i have not

Judge Moon sends 265 back to jury room

Juror 265 passes, no objections for cause from the defense or the plaintiffs

Next up for Voir dire is potential juror 266, a white woman

Asked if four weeks of jury duty would be a problem 266 says not really

266 says he has a doctor’s appointment at 3 PM tomorrow, hasn’t seen her doctor since COVID, and might lose access to prescription meds if she can’t make the appt tmrw. Judge Moon says “we’ll see what we can do”

Asked if she has formed opinions about Unite The Right and who is at fault for violence, she says no

Q: in your questionnaire you indicated that you had no concern about prejudice against Jewish people, can you explain that?

266: I’ve never heard or seen any discrimination against Jewish people

Q: you’ve said you heard about this case, what have yu heard about it?

266: I’ve heard about the gentleman who drove his car into a crowd and hit pedestrians and a woman is now deceased

Moon: do you know who is responsible for his death?

266: I don’t remember his name

Q: you’ve said you’re mildly concerned about racism against white people, can you explain?

266: it’s what’s going on with the statue, it’s not just the whites, it’s the blacks, everything that’s going on

Q: you said you had an unfavorable view of Black Lives Matter, can you explain?

266: it’s because All Lives Matter

Asked if she could find for either side based on the evidence, 266 says yes. Judge Moon sends her back to the jury room

Potential juror 267, a younger Asian or possibly white woman (low quality video feed in media room doesn’t make it clear) says 4 weeks of jury duty shouldn’t be a problem for her

Q: do you believe every organization, whatever their political beliefs, has a right to parade in this city if they do so lawfully?

267: yes

Q: and even radical racists have this right if they do so lawfully?

267: yes

Judge Moon sends 267 back to jury room

Potential juror 268, a younger or middle aged white guy, says jury duty “wouldn’t be convenient…but I could make it work”
268’s jury questionnaire says he would be of retaliation from the plaintiffs – he says “given today’s political climate I would say I fear the left is, I would say, slightly unhinged and a little extremist, not that the right side isn’t extremist, we have a climate of extremes”

Asked by Judge Moon if he could try the case solely on the facts in the courtroom without any outside influence based on the law, 268 says yes.

268 wrote on his questionnaire that he saw mainstream media coverage of Unite The Right as “biased” and says it was “sympathetic with the plaintiffs’ point of view”

268 wrote in his questionnaire that “the premise that the counter-protesters were acting peacefully was false”. Asked to clarify he says “they were armed and looking for a confrontation if an opportunity presented itself… they were not averse to a confrontation”

Judge Moon: if the plaintiffs were able to prove that they were not armed and did not engage in any violent activity themselves…could you render a verdict to the plaintiffs?

268: I could

268 in his questionnaire q 34 described antifa as “militant, left-wing extremists.” Judge Moon asks “if defendants in this case assert that one or more of the plaintiffs are associated with antifa, would that color your view of their testimony?”

268: in certain contexts it could

268: the evidence proves what the evidence proves, make an argument, show me the proof, I’m willing to go there with you

Q: do you have any view about white supremacy, believing that the white race is better than other races?

268: no, I think that line of thinking is not allowed with my personal value

Judge Moon suddenly leaves the room, seems like court is in recess

The Judge has returned, the case is back in motion

Q: do you believe that free speech is a right for all Americans, including Marxists?

268: yes I do

Q: how do you know that the counter-protesters were armed?

268: a first-hand account

Q: You mean someone told you they saw someone armed?

268: yes

Q: are you of the opinion that one or more of the plaintiffs was armed

268: I believe they probably were.

Q: if you heard… that parties to this case were counter-protesters would you be likely to assume they were looking for confrontation?

268: I, um, don’t know that they were specifically looking for confrontation, but I don’t think they would have shied away from confrontation

Q: If left-wing protesters other than the plaintiffs were present at the rally, would you be more likely to believe that the defendants were not responsible?

268: I have no idea who is responsible

Q: do you believe that all lives matter?

268: yes i do

Judge Moon sends 268 back to jury room

Karen Dunn for the plaintiffs arguing to strike 268 for cause “this jusor is not competent to serve – in his questionnaire he said it was false that the counter-protesters were peaceful…armed, looking for confrontation…

…Then he explained that this was based on his first-hand knowledge, hearing from friends and family…compounding the issue he said that plaintiffs, people he has never met or heard of, were probably armed….

… He said plaintiffs would not have shied away from confrontation. He said that he thinks mainstream media is biased towards the defendants…” – Karen Dunn for plaintiffs

Chris Cantwell is arguing to keep juror 268, saying that counter-protesters were in fact violent

Richard Spencer also wants to keep 268, saying everyone has heard of the rally and that “millions of Americans” share 268’s opinions.

“The real issue is if he can suspend his notions beforehand…he answered all of those Qs in a thoughtful and sensitive manner…” – Spencer

James Kolenich (counsel for Kessler, Damigo and IE) is arguing to keep 268, saying he promised to set aside his notions etc etc, ‘we admit this is more of a close call than some of the prior jurors but he did admit..that he would follow the evidence”

Karen Dunn for plaintiffs again stresses that 268 insists that plaintiffs, who he says he never met, were likely armed. “He fears repercussions from the plaintiffs, people he has never met or heard of, because he thinks they are armed”

Judge Moon says “his positions are ambiguous enough that it’s not clear that he can sit and render fairly to both sides so I’m going to discharge him for cause” – 268 will NOT be on the Sines v. Kessler jury

Potential juror 269, an older Black man, says he could do the four weeks but “sitting in one spot” for a long time would not be his preference. Judge Moon asks if its ok if he could stand up sometimes, he says yeah

269 works in a business selling musical equipment and is concerned about too much time calling off of work

In his jury questionnaire he answered “no” when asked if he could set aside his notions about Unite The Right. 269 says now “I pretty much made up my mind, I’ve lived here in this town. I know people who were assaulted, that poor girl died. I mean, come on, man. No.”

Judge Moon: are you saying you couldn’t sit and listen to the evidence and listen to the evidence and render a verdict based on the law?

269: I can sit here and I can listen but I’ve already made up my mind

Judge Moon says 269 is excused for cause, Karen Dunn from the plaintiffs side says “we applaud his honesty”

Potential juror 274 is in now, looks to be an older white guy, says length of jury service won’t be an issue

On his jury questionnaire q # 43, 274 said “yes” when asked if there was anything that would make it hard for him to be fair and impartial. He wrote “the defendants were not at fault”, Judge Moon asks him to elaborate

“I’ve seen no evidence that would show the defendants at fault” – 274

Judge Moon: you could hear this case based solely on the evidence… and reach a verdict that is fair…?

274: yes, your honor

Qs for potential juror 274 being submitted now, Judge Moon will read them

Q: what are your views based on that the defendants were not at fault?

274: it’s not my views its just the lack of evidence that i’ve seen that would show otherwise

Q: If the plaintiffs meet their burden of proof for one or more of the defendants, can you separate that view from the other defendants where the burden has not been met?

274: yes

Q: in response to Q 41 you said you were not concerned about discrimination about black or jewish people but were concerned about discrimination against white people, can you explain that?

274: my opinions about that have nothing to do w this case. I do believe that white people are discriminated against more on a daily basis…if you look at any news sources there will be some kind of bias against white caucasian people, i see it everyday

Judge Moon: you think the media is slanted against white people?

274: yes

Judge Moon: do you think there is discrimination against Black or hispanic people?

274: not saying there is none, but I don’t see it. Not as much as against white people.

In your questionnaire you described antifa as terrorists – if the defendants alleged that plaintiffs were associated w antifa, would that color your view of their testimony?

274: I don’t think so

Q: you said your unfavorable towards BLM, can you explain?

274: it’s a sham, a bunch of people trying to take advantage

Q: if one or more plaintiff supported BLM would that impact your views as to their credibility?

274: no

Q: you said you saw a moderate amount of coverage about Unite The Right, can you elaborate?

274: saw it on the news and Facebook first on that Saturday night, later on I saw stuff on TV, video coverage of things that happened that day… I remember Terry McCauliffe getting up and giving a lot of speculative coverage…after that I saw articles in the paper

Q: This case, the plaintiffs allege that the defendatns came to Charlottesville having conspired to come here to commit racially motivated violence. You have indicated that you’re not greatly concerned with discrimination against Blacks and Jewish and Hispanic persons….

…If the court instructs you that it is unlawful to discriminate against persons on account of their race and that if people traveled from one state to another to commit an act of violence because of someone’s race, can you do so… if it’s proven that they came to discrimiante aginst Black persons and Jewish persons on account of their race?

274: yes, your honor

Judge Moon: if you sit as a juror in this case can you weigh the evidence if it comes in, set aside any preconceived notions, and reach a verdict that the law and the evidence dictate you should reach?

274: most certainly

Moon: Do you have any bias or prejudice against the defendants or plaintiffs in this case?

274: no, sir

Judge Moon sends potential juror 274 back to the jury room

Judge Moon asks for any motions regarding juror 274. Karen Dunn for plaintiffs wants him struck

“His questionairre takes the position that the defendants were not at fault…when he was asked about that he said ‘the wording was going to stand, when your honor asked him…more distressing than that, although that’s bad, is he established that belief without any evidence..he didn’t answer the Q, he just kept saying he hadn’t seen the evidence in this case. We all saw w our eyes how vehement he was when he spoke about Black Lives Matter..” -Karen Dunn

Dunn emphasizes 274 calling antifa “terrorist” & saying defendants aren’t at fault to be cause to strike him.

James Kolenich for the defense is saying 274 indicated he could be impartial. “Antia and BLM are not parties. in this lawsuit… we think he’s an acceptable juror”

Joshua Smith (lawyer for Parrott/Heimbach/TWP) says juror 274 “aced those questions” and should be on the jury

Christopher Cantwell jumps in and says 274 said that he could return a mixed verdict so “if he’s thinking clearly to find some ppl liable and not others than he’s…thinking…fairly”

Richard Spencer: “his opinions are common among millions of Americans…we can’t expect people to to have these assumptions… he seemed like a very competent and intelligent man”

Karen Dunn (plaintiffs): if a juror had said the defendants are at fault, they would be struck

Joshua Smith (defense) is trying to say that 274’s comments about defendants not being at fault just means he hadn’t seen the burden of proof being met

Judge Moon: “he stated that he had these opinions… he answered q 72 about setting aside preconceived opinions..he answered yes to that question and he confirmed that he had these opinions and I would agree that. a lot of ppl do have these opinions..” Judge Moon PASSES juror 274

Judge Moon is calling for a break but there are Qs about how many jurors could be left etc

Roberta Kaplan asks if preemptory strikes need to be saved for new jurors coming in or not

Ten minute break happening. Court is gonna run pretty late again today, it went to around 7 Pm yesterday

Afternoon Break

Judge Norman K. Moon is back in the big seat

“We have 8 jurors…we need at least 10 or 11…” – Judge Moon

(court minutes from yesterday show 8 jurors seated yday… ) and 1 was seated today so its a bit confusing lol

Judge Moon discussing using 10 or 11 jurors vs 12

Sounds like one of the jurors from yesterday got removed from the jury but could get put back on the jury

Dunn (plaintiffs): in order to know how to exercise our preemptory strikes we need to know how many jurors the court plans to go with

Judge Moon: I am prepared to go with 11 jurors

Judge Moon says there will definitely be 11 jurors, not including a twelfth juror who is “under consideration”

both sides are now confused

Cantwell and Spencer are arguing that the defense should get another strike back if Judge Moon grants the plaintiffs’ motion to reinstate this mysterious 12th juror

“There’s some confusion over here on the math” – Dunn

Moon: “if i go w 10 jurors, we’ll have 4 more than 6…”

Judge Moon saying that if only 10 jurors selected by end of today, more jury selection will have to happen tomorrow

Dunn: it’s not clear, it’s in the court’s discretion whether defendants get the extra strike back or not (if plaintiff’s motion to reinstate the 12th juror is sustained by Judge Moon)

Judge Moon: we’re going to go through this process and see how many jurors we select. And then I have a motion pending after that, I will take that up. And then I will decide if I have to come back tomorrow. And then I will decide if the defendant gets another strike

Joshua Smith (defense) starts taking about “judicial economy” and asks if people can just come back tomorrow. Judge Moon gets angry at him and says “I’m trying to give everyone everything they want!!”

Judge Moon is calling the fourth jury panel back in now

William Rebrook is the lawyer for National Socialist Movement, Jeff Schoep and Nationalist Front – Rebrook went to the emergency room today and still hasn’t been heard from, per defense team.

The jury panel is in court now and both sides are going to exercise strikes to determine which of these eligible jurors is actually getting seated in the final jury panel. The court clerk explains random numbers are used here, not the other numbers assigned

Juror 2 – both sides pass

Juror 3 – both sides pass

Juror 6 – plaintiffs challenge

Juror 8 – plaintiffs challenge

Juror 15 – plaintiffs challenge

Juror 16 – defense challenges

Jurors 265 and 243 are now on the jury panel for Sines v Kessler

So there are now either 10 or 11 jurors, depending on if Judge Moon grants the plaintiffs’ motion to reinstate the juror who is “under consideration.”

It’s unclear quite whats going on w this juror but the plaintiffs’ comments to Moon about it have referenced discrimination in jury selection

2 Jury panels are on call for tomorrow, Judge Moon says “we hope we can get to a full panel by noon” tomorrow but isn’t sure if the opening arguments can start tommorrow.

“We don’t have the final panel yet” – Judge Moon

Dunn: “the court’s original order was 2 days or jury selection and 6 strikes so in order to get 12 [jurors] we would seek additional strikes from the court”

Dunn: “the sensitive nature of this case and the fact that we have had such a difficult time over two days finding qualified jurors…”

Judge Moon: “i will put that off to tomorrow to research and be sure whether the plaintiffs will be entitled to an additional strike…”

Dunn: I think your honor means if the defendant is entitled to another strike but if that’s the case i understand

Moon: alright. okay

Judge Moon is discussing some kind of administrative matter w the audio feed muted (seems to be muted on purpose but that’s not clear bc there have been tech issues w the feed as well)

Judge Moon is still in his chair but seems like most of the lawyers are leaving court now…

Judge Moon just stood up to gather his papers and is leaving now, so court is officially done. Seems that two more jury panels will be gone through tomorrow but still a chance opening arguments will start tomorrow as well.