Before the car hit him, there was an upbeat atmosphere among those protesting a white nationalist rally in Virginia last year, a student recalled in court on Friday.
The next thing Aubtin Heydari, 22, remembered was being soaked in blood and wondering why he could not walk.
Heydari testified at the second day of the trial of James Fields Jr., the white nationalist behind the wheel of the gray Challenger car that struck the victims, killing one and injuring 19 others.
Fields, 21, faces 10 charges for his role in the violence at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, including for the murder of Heather Heyer, a counterprotester killed in the collision, which was captured in widely seen videos.
“A lot of people were singing protest songs and hymns, there was a lot of optimism,” Heydari testified in the Charlottesville Circuit Court, describing the mood before Fields drove into the crowd. Field says he acted in self-defense, terrified by the crowds near his car.
Heydari also suffered a concussion that left him with severe memory loss.
“I remember something being wrong, and seeing blood, but I didn’t remember how, when or why,” he told the court. “I remember not being able to talk and blood running down my face.” He later learned his leg was broken and that he would require multiple surgeries.
Hundreds of white nationalists had gathered in Charlottesville to protest the planned removal a statue honoring the U.S. Civil War-era Confederacy from a public park. At a rally the night before the incident, they carried torches and chanted anti-Semitic slogans.
Responding after the violence, U.S. President Donald Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides,” drawing criticism from Democrats and fellow Republicans for equating the white nationalists with those who demonstrated against them.
Hours before driving into the crowd, Fields was photographed carrying a shield with the emblem of a far-right group, although the group later denied he was a member.
The government contends that Fields’ killing of Heyer was pre-meditated murder, which he denies. His trial is expected to last three weeks.
Writing by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Bill Berkrot
Stephen Colbert rips ‘idiot’ GOP senator for defending Trump’s unconstitutional self-dealing
"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert returned from New Zealand for a new show that aired Monday evening.
"I have been as far from the insatiable black hole of news that is Donald Trump as you can get on this planet.
I've heard there have been some developments over the last 10 days that did not go well for Donnie,"
The host ripped Trump's 71-minute press conference.
"Seventy-one minutes is not a press conference, it's a one man show," he explained. "If you liked 'Fleabag,' you'll love Donald Trump in 'Douchebag,'" he said.
[caption id="attachment_1555275" align="aligncenter" width="800"] ‘The Late Show’ graphic (screengrab)[/caption]
Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him
Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.
In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.
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News anchor Shepard Smith once characterized comparing the two as “apples and teaspoons.”