Silence from the right: Citing lack of communication, attorneys drop Elliott Kline as client in Charlottesville lawsuit
Elliott Kline has been quiet for nearly six months, with no public posts on social media or public appearances.
Kline has apparently gone mostly silent with his attorneys, too.
A federal judge on Thursday granted a request from attorneys Elmer Woodard of Blairs, Virginia, and James Kolenich of Cincinnati to drop Kline as a client in the federal litigation over the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.
In a motion, Woodard and Kolenich said Kline has not answered requests for information or a meeting. The attorneys also said they’ve had to reach out to friends of Kline’s to shake loose a response from him. All that makes providing adequate representation in the case a tough road, the lawyers said.
“Mr. Kline’s ‘response’ has been complete and non-responsive silence,” Woodard and Kolenich said. “It is impossible for the undersigned to do anything for Mr. Kline under these circumstances.”
Kline, who goes by “Eli Mosley” in alt-right circles, was one of 26 people and groups sued in 2017 after the “Unite the Right” rally.”
Plaintiffs in the case are trying to show that the Unite the Right rally wasn’t a case of free speech, but rather an organized call to violence by white supremacists, white nationalist and racists generally.
The central argument is that the violence of Unite the Right was premeditated, making the actions that took place on August 11 and 12 evidence of a conspiracy.
The rally, a big public push by the alt-right, featured a torch-lit march by white supremacist chanting “Jews will not replace us” and saw a follower plow a car into a crowd, killing 32-year-old counter-protestor Heather Heyer. James Alex Fields, Jr., a 21-year-old from Maumee, Ohio, faces first-degree murder charges in state court as well as federal hate crime charges stemming from the incident.
Kline, who served as the head of Identity Evropa for three months in 2017, has been quiet on social media for about five months, a radio silence that started after he and “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler had a public reconciliation on a podcast. Before February, Kline was outspoken on Gab, the favored Twitter-like platform of the alt-right.
“Well I've been banned from Twitter and already back on the platform,” Kline posted in late January. “We're not going away.”
But, he has.
The silence coincides with the publication of a New York Times article about Kline drawing into question his claims of having served in Iraq. According to the Times, Kline served in the Pennsylvania National Guard, but never deployed.
Kline insisted he would provide proof of his service overseas, but thus far hasn’t done so.
Since then, other alt-right figures, such as Richard Spencer and former National Policy Institute chief Evan McLaren have sought to distance themselves from Kline. The two made a public statement in February, just after the New York Times story’s publication, saying “We are grateful for his contributions, and we admire his enthusiasm.”
Kline was not a full-time staff member at Altright.com but did contribute articles and podcasts. The last podcast on the website listing Kline as a contributor was called “Bring Back Bullying” and featured Spencer and others. That was six months ago.
Since then, Kline has been hard to find publicly.
What Kline does next is unknown. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Hoppe gave Kline until August 8 to file a response to the lawsuit.
If Kline is no more responsive to the judge than he has been to his attorneys, things may only get worse for him.