A white nationalist who drove his car into a crowd protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, killing one of the counterdemonstrators, was found guilty on Friday of first-degree murder and nine other counts.
The jury deliberated for about seven hours before convicting James Fields, 21, of all charges stemming from the deadly attack that occurred after police had declared an unlawful assembly and cleared a city park of white supremacists gathered for the “Unite the Right” rally.
Fields, who did not take the witness stand to defend himself, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. The 12 members of the mostly white jury – seven women and five men – were to return to court on Monday for the start of the penalty phase of the trial.
Defense attorneys never disputed that Fields was behind the wheel of the Dodge Charger that sent bodies flying when it crashed into a crowd on Aug. 12, 2017, killing counterprotester Heather Heyer, 32 and injuring 19 others.
Instead, Fields’ lawyers suggested he felt intimidated by a hostile crowd and acted to protect himself.
Prosecutors said Field was motivated by hatred and had come to the rally to harm others.
The car-ramming incident capped a day of tensions and physical clashes between hundreds of white nationalists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis who had assembled in Charlottesville to protest plans to remove statues of two Confederate generals, and groups of opposing demonstrators.
The night before, the “Unite the Right” protesters had staged a torchlit march through the nearby University of Virginia campus, chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans.
Republican U.S. President Donald Trump was strongly condemned by fellow Republicans as well as Democrats for saying afterward that “both sides” were to blame for the violence.
Fields was photographed hours before last year’s attack carrying a shield with the emblem of a far-right hate group, and people who knew him in high school have said he expressed Nazi sympathies as a student.
Fields also faces separate federal hate crime charges, which carry a potential death sentence. He has pleaded not guilty in that case as well.
Reporting by Gary Robertson in Charlottesville, Va.; Writing by Peter Szekely and Steve Gorman, additional writing by Rich McKay; Editing by Jonathan Oatis
GOP ridiculed for hyping Ohio anti-impeachment protest — and only a handful of Trump supporters showed
The official Twitter of account of the Republican National Committee was buried in mockery after hyping up a video of anti-impeachment protesters in Youngstown, Ohio, where it appears only a handful of people showed up.
According to the tweet, "Ohioans are sick and tired of the Democrats’ impeachment charade. It’s time to STOP THE MADNESS!"
However, in the video from WKBN, which can be seen below, few people chose to show up for the cameras.
As one commenter noted with tongue-in-cheek, "Thought Ohio had a few more people than that."
That was the general consensus in the comments.
GOP lawmaker scrambles for excuses after being cornered with McConnell’s promise to rig Trump impeachment
On CNN Saturday, anchor Martin Savidge confronted Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), one of Trump's biggest defenders on cable television, about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's claim that he was "coordinating" the impeachment strategy with the White House.
"Where is the impartiality there?" asked Savidge. "And it has to be a concern because, as you point out, you are an attorney and you would be worried if a member of the jury had already stated how they were going to consider."
"Yeah, we heard those comments yesterday, as everyone did," said Johnson. "You know, I've actually talked about this with some of my Democrat [sic] colleagues, those who are very much in favor of impeachment. I said isn't it a fair description of what he said? The way I heard that, Mitch McConnell is talking about the scheduling of the trial, what length of trial or what would be involved with that, with the White House, which is not unprecedented. That's what happened in the Clinton proceedings as well, they coordinated with the White House on scheduling. I don't think he's talking about the merits of the case. I think he's talking about how long will be allowed for this to go forward so I don't think there's anything inappropriate about that."
Jared Kushner’s ties to Saudis could be fair game if Trump keeps going after Hunter Biden: Dem lawmaker
On MSNBC's "AM Joy," Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) laid out the case for impeaching President Donald Trump — and warned of the consequences for Trump's own family at the hands of future presidents if he is allowed to get away with it.
"He abused his power by trying to trade government resources for a political favor, to knock out a political rival in Joe Biden, the guy that he thought would emerge as nominee for 2020," said Castro. "We can't set a precedent where Congress says it's okay for a president to do that, because if we do that then a few things will happen. Number one, it opens the door for Donald Trump to do it again or a future president to do it again. To ask a country to interfere in our elections and knock out a political rival by digging up dirt."