Jason Kessler will get his day in court with the city of Charlottesville, but whether he gets the permit he wants remains to be seen.
A federal judge has set a hearing for July 24 in a case Kessler brought to try and force the city to grand him a permit to hold another gathering of alt-right, racist and neo-Nazi figures. After that hearing, the judge will decide if Kessler can get a permit for Emancipation Park near downtown.
Kessler sued Charlottesville, Virginia, a city of about 48,000, after officials turned down his bid to hold a rally to mark the anniversary of his first violent and deadly gathering. The judge also scheduled a trial for April 2019.
The first “Unite the Right” rally took place August 11 and 12, 2017.
It featured a torchlit march of white supremacists, separatists, neo-Nazis, including Cantwell, and others at the University of Virginia organized by Kessler and alt-right front man Richard Spencer. During the march, protestors chanted “Jews will not replace us” and made monkey noises at black counter-protestors.
The day after the torchlit march, the main rally at Emancipation Park — home to a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — turned violent.
An alt-right adherent, James Alex Fields, Jr., of Maumee, Ohio, is charged with intentionally ramming his car into a group of counter-protesters near downtown Charlottesville, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. He faces both state and federal charges related to the incident.
A federal judge on Monday allowed a lawsuit against Kessler and other stemming from the first rally to go forward.
Instead of using Charlottesville, Kessler is currently planning a rally at Lafayette Square Park in Washington, D.C., to mark the anniversary of “Unite the Right.”
The rally is scheduled for August 11, but it is unknown who from the alt-right will attend and how many people will take part.
In a deposition filed in the lawsuit against the city, Kessler estimated 400 would attend the 2017 event, but later acknowledged he made the number up.
Since “Unite the Right,” many groups and people involved in the 2017 debacle have distanced themselves from Kessler and some, including the League of the South and former Traditionalist Worker Party head Matthew Heimbach, have reached deals not to return to Charlottesville for armed protests.
Photo by Zack Wajsgras/The Daily Progress via AP Images