Jason Kessler, who organized the deadly “Unite the Right” white nationalist rally in August, has been indicted in Virginia on a perjury charge.
He was arrested Wednesday and subsequently released on bond.
He is accused of lying in a sworn statement he provided a magistrate judge following a January 22 scuffle with another man at a Charlottesville shopping mall, according to various media reports.
Kessler, 34, was named in the perjury indictment returned Monday by a grand jury in Albemarle County, Virginia, the Washington Post reported in today’s editions.
If convicted of the felony charge, Kessler faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
The new charge grew out of an incident earlier this year in Charlottesville. Kessler, a former Daily Caller contributor, claimed in the statement given authorities that he was assaulted while collecting signatures to remove the city’s vice mayor from office.
But when the alleged assault was investigated, surveillance video showed Kessler was not a victim, but the aggressor. He pleaded guilty in April to a misdemeanor assault charge and received a 30-day suspended sentence.
The white nationalist activist and blogger landed in the limelight after leading opposition in Charlottesville to the City Council’s plan to remove a statute of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and renaming a local park “Emancipation Park.”
Kessler founded a group called “Unity and Security for America,” described as a “right-wing political advocacy group,” and became a member of the pro-Trump “Proud Boys.” Unity and Security has since been rolled into a new white nationalist organization called “The New Byzantium Project.”
Following a relatively small Ku Klux Klan rally in July opposing the statute’s removal, Kessler secured a city permit for the Aug. 12 “Unite the Right Rally.”
The night before the rally, Kessler and hundreds of white nationalists and white supremacists gathered on the University of Virginia mall, carrying fiery torches, chanting “Blood and Soil!” and “Jews will not replace us!”
On the day of the rally, violence broke out when anti-racist demonstrators confronted Kessler and others involved in the racist “alt-right” demonstration. At one point, a car drove into a crowd of counter-protesters, resulting in the death of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal.
James Fields Jr., 20, charged with murder and other charges related to that vehicular assault, is scheduled to appear in court in December.
Following the alt right rally, Kessler blamed police and “anti-white hate” for the violence.
While making those remarks, Kessler was assaulted and led to safety by police who subsequently made two arrests.