Some organizers of the infamous 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — during which a neo-Nazi drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters — appear to have been paid employees of white-supremacist groups funded by private donors.
The Daily Beast reported Tuesday that a lawsuit filed by Integrity First for America lawsuit, on behalf of victims of the attack — which left one dead and several injured — shows that at least one key Unite the Right organizer, Elliott Kline, was about to join the "payroll" as a "full-time" employee of one of the groups, where he would be making "good money."
Kline's text messages from around the time of the rally are among more than 3,000 exhibits that were recently entered as evidence by plaintiffs in the sweeping lawsuit, Sines v. Kessler, which is slated to go to trial next month. Unite the Right organizers have tried to distance themselves from the rally and claim it was loosely organized, but the text messages appear to show significant coordination and planning.
"In one text message, Kline appears to describe a breakup that resulted from his involvement with white supremacist groups. In the message, he describes an upcoming, well-paid job with the white supremacist group Identity Evropa," the Daily Beast reported.
"I'm about to double down in the movement harder than I already have," Kline wrote. "I asked her if she thought it was a good idea. She was excited. And now she wants out. It's too late for me to turn it down now. Half the reason I took the opportunity was because I knew I'd be able to support her with it. It's secret but I'm taking over IE [Identity Evropa] from Nathan and I'm going to be paid from private donors some good money."
Kline took over Identity Evropa from its founder, Nathan Damigo, two weeks after the rally. In another text message, notorious white supremacist Richard Spencer told Kline that "also, we're going to pay you."
"During the rally planning process, Kline also texted the event's main organizer, Jason Kessler that 'You and I should get used to speaking daily now. Now that this is my full time job I'll be much more available to you,'" the Daily Beast reported. "The Sines v. Kessler exhibits also include an Instagram post in which someone advocates killing protesters with a car."
In another text message, Kessler acknowledged that organizers of the rally were neo-Nazis. Referring to a statement from a member of the Proud Boys militia group, Kessler told Kline, "I think it's alright except he kind of backs himself in the corner by pretending some of our guys aren't Nazis. I think he needs more wiggle room just in case there are salutes."