CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — Matthew Heimbach, the former leader of the US fascist organization Traditionalist Worker Party, took the witness stand for the second day of testimony during the civil trial against the organizers of the violent 2017 Unite the Right rally on Wednesday.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs -- nine people who were injured in the weekend of violence in August 2017 -- pointed out inconsistencies in Heimbach's testimony for the second time in as many days.
Heimbach testified that he did not turn over messages on his Gab account — a social media platform favored by white supremacists — because his wife deleted his account following a dispute over taking out the trash.
Karen Dunn, an attorney for the plaintiffs, then played an excerpt from Heimbach speaking on "The Radical Agenda," a podcast hosted by his co-defendant Christopher Cantwell.
"I had to delete my account," Heimbach could be heard saying. "My lawyer was like, 'Uh no.'"
Dunn asked Heimbach why he said that on Cantwell's podcast.
"I wasn't about to announce to Mr. Cantwell's audience a private domestic dispute," Heimbach said. "That would have been wildly inappropriate."
Cantwell attempted to help Heimbach salvage his credibility during cross-examination.
"Do you understand 'The Radical Agenda' to be an entertainment product?" Cantwell asked, implying that statements made on the podcast shouldn't' be taken at face value.
"Absolutely," Heimbach responded.
Josh Smith, who is representing Heimbach at trial, clarified for the court that he is not the lawyer referenced in Heimbach's comments to Cantwell.
Dunn said the plaintiffs were introducing the audio from the podcast into evidence "for impeachment purposes."
Previously, on Tuesday, Dunn introduced a video showing Heimbach conferring with Elliott Kline, another Unite the Right organizer who is also a defendant, at Emancipation Park during the Aug. 12, 2017 rally, telling the judge that the purpose was to impeach Heimbach's testimony.
The plaintiffs have already established through an adverse inference finding by Magistrate Judge Joel Hoppe that Robert "Azzmador" Ray, as a writer for the Daily Stormer website, and Elliott Kline, a leader of Identity Evropa, conspired with others to engage in racially motivated violence during the Aug. 12 Unite the Right rally and the secret torch-lit march at the University of Virginia on the night before. Ray and Kline are also defendants in the case.
As evidence of Ray's involvement in the conspiracy, Hoppe cited a July 28, 2017 comment on the Discord chat platform in which Ray said, "I just got done with an hours long chat with some of the event organizers and I feel better about the thing. The plan is the same, gas the kikes, pr war now, plenty of trolling and lolz."
Ray and Kline are not participating in the trial. On Wednesday, with the court's permission, a lawyer for the plaintiffs entered Ray's comments in the Discord gaming platform, which was used to organize and plan for Unite the Right into the record, and played videos of him speaking to reporter on Aug. 12, 2017.
The plaintiffs also played a video of Kline's deposition to the court. Kline testified that he was in a room with fellow defendants Richard Spencer, Nathan Damigo and Jason Kessler after the Unite the Right when Spencer unleashed an angry, racist rant vowing to come back to Charlottesville.