Editor’s Note: This trial has nothing to do with Russia, but I am running this series for I have seen no other reporting from inside the courthouse which is sympathetic to the defendant, who, on the face of things, has a very strong case that he is not guilty of the charges. Unfortunately for him, he faces a clearly biased judge, dishonest and hysterical media coverage, an apparently incompetent defense team (court-appointed public defenders), and most importantly, a local jury drawn from a small, hyper-liberal town which is hot for a lynching. That the judge denied a motion to move the trial to a less biased location gives you an idea of the inequity of proceedings and the mood of the judge.
Andrew Anglin, the proprietor of the Daily Stormer, has laid out the facts of the case very well here and here. (For those of you unfamiliar with the Stormer, keep in mind that it makes liberal use of satire. It has very intelligent and spot-on analysis couched in deliberately inflammatory language. We sometimes republish their articles related to Russia, which are often excellent. You can see an archive of them here.)
As the author points out, this is an important case because it will test the US justice system – can it deliver a fair trial in such a politically and emotionally charged case? Can an impecunious, naive young white man get a fair hearing with the powers that be lined up against him? The initial signs suggest he cannot.
- Charles Bausman, Editor.
November 29, 2018. CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.
Fifteen months after the now notorious Unite the Right rally (UTR), James Alex Fields is finally having his day in court.
Fields is facing a slate of charges including first degree murder for crashing his Dodge Challenger into a crowd in downtown Charlottesville two hours after UTR was forcibly disbursed by police. He was arrested minutes after the incident, denied bail, and has been imprisoned ever since. He has also been charged with federal hate crimes, for which he will likely face prosecution next year.
This case is important for three reasons. First, it has the potential to break the “Charlottesville Narrative.” Whether Fields is found guilty or not, the public will be deluged with facts about the Challenger incident and about UTR generally, many of which are not favorable to the leftist narrative. The left has used (and will continue to use) Charlottesville as a bludgeon against the dissident right and mainstream conservatives alike. The left is able to do so because of media mendacity and because conservatives would rather fold than fight–always ready to grovel whenever the left accuses them of “racism” or some other thought crime.
Second, the trial will be a barometer of whether United States still functions according to Rule of Law. All of the UTR attendees prosecuted so far have been convicted in ludicrously unfair proceedings, and all the “counter-protestors” have either not been charged or have received preferential treatment. The judge in the Fields case, Richard E. Moore, also presided at the trials of Jacob Goodwin, Alex Ramos and Daniel Borden. All three were convicted of malicious wounding for beating up Deandre Harris, 20, a black, after the rally.
As usual, that isn’t the whole story. Before the beating, Harris can be seen on film slamming an elderly UTR attendee with a flashlight. What was Harris’ punishment? Nothing. He was found not guilty and got to keep $160,000+ in donations given him by the liberal cyber-mob, which he appears to have used to make a rap video in which he dispenses worldly wisdom on a life in crime, drug use, and shooting people:
Third, the outcome will affect several other key cases. One such case is Sines v. Kessler, a sprawling civil suit brought on behalf of 11 plaintiffs against every key figure and organization who participated in UTR. The suit is being argued by two New York-based law firms, Boies Schiller Flexner and Kaplan Hecker & Fink, whose ethnic composition is worth noting. The suit alleges that UTR attendees conspired to commit violence because of “hate,” “racism,” and other species of badthink. The Fields trial will also likely affect the trials of four UTR attendees who were recently arrested in California and accused of “conspiracy to riot.”
Fields faces an uphill battle. His fate will be decided by a jury of twelve (and four alternates) who are all Charlottesville residents. Suffice it to say, they are unlikely to be sympathetic. A Charlottesville jury, when presented with incontestable proof of an assault on UTR organizer Jason Kessler, decided to fine the assailant $1. The defense did file a motion in August to hold the Fields trial in a different venue, but Judge Moore denied it.
Jury selection started Monday, but was not complete until Thursday morning. Of the 16 jurors all but one is white (or Jewish/light Hispanic, perhaps). The only outlier is a middle-aged black man. There are nine women and seven men, generally older. Only 4 or 5 appeared under 40.
Prosecution Opening Statement
The prosecution isn’t pulling any punches. The facts are not on their side, so they are going in for maximum emotional effect. During her 20-minute opening statement, Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s attorney Nina Antony stressed the gruesome nature of victim’s injuries, and suggested that Fields had premeditated the whole thing, mentioning that three months before UTR, Fields had posted an image of a car running into a crowd of people on Instagram. “Fields was here in Charlottesville with anger and images of violence fixed in his mind.”
She also went to great lengths to eulogize Heather Heyer, the only person to die at the scene. The cause of her death is still disputed, as no reliable photos or video of her being struck by Fields’ car have yet emerged. But the prosecution seems confident. Ms. Antony claimed that Heyer was hit with the full force of the vehicle and that she was “lifted into the air off her feet.” Then, according to the prosecution, Fields “[took] with him her blood and flesh still on his fender.” But did Heyer die as a direct result? Heyer’s mother stated that she died of a heart attack.
The reliance on rhetorical flourish stems from a dearth of evidence. The facts are not on the prosecution’s side. Their case relies on the idea that posting an edgy picture on the Internet substantiates premeditation. This trial may well come down to an argument over what constitutes irony.
The defense’s opening statement left a lot to be desired. Fields’ attorney John Hill did not contest any of the prosecution’s facts. He began by noting that the prosecutor “is correct, this is not a who-done-it case.” He went on to explain that the defense had nothing to dispute about the facts… this coming right after the rather colorful claims of the Commonwealth’s main prosecutrix. Perhaps this is tactical–a forceful defense is unlikely to carry a Charlottesville jury, especially given that they have been subjected to 15 months of the shrillest propaganda about Fields and UTR.
But the defense made two arguments that seem like a bad strategy. First, to illustrate that Fields did not come to the event intending to engage in violence, Mr. Hill argued that Fields had only brought a change of clothes; he brought no weapons, no poles, no face-mask. Sounds reasonable, all the attendees were publically instructed by the rally organizers not to bring weapons. But watch for the prosecution to turn this argument on its head: that Fields brought no baggage specifically because he intended to carry out a car attack. Why bring a toothbrush when you are committed to murder and mayhem?
Second, Mr. Hill argued that Fields did not “flee” the scene, he merely “left.” This line seems intended to fight the charge of fleeing the scene. But does he really expect the jury to see a distinction? Moreover, it undermines Fields’ main argument: that he felt endangered and acted in self defense. How could he have felt that he was in danger before the car crash, but that he didn’t feel scared enough to flee after his car hit a mass of people who then smashed out his windows? It is totally illogical. The easiest application of the self-defense argument is in relation to the people who were injured when Fields sped away in reverse–many of them were attacking his car with bats and sticks. Why on earth would his lawyer argue that he was NOT fleeing?
However, Hill did provide some useful details about Fields’ activities and interactions in the two hours between the time when UTR was forcibly (and illegally) dispersed and when the car crash happened. Fields left Lee Park by walking west–the safer way–and returned to the UTR staging ground at McIntyre Park. He went back to his car at the McDonald’s up the road (presumably this one). At the Shell gas station across the street, he met three other UTR attendees, who needed to get back to their cars, all parked in the still-dangerous downtown. Fields volunteered to give them a lift back to their cars. Dropping them off, Fields and his new acquaintances resolved to meet up later for lunch.
If Fields is found guilty, he faces life in prison and even the death penalty. There is immense political pressure to convict Fields. Judge Moore has shown himself a consistent persecutor of his city’s political enemies, while turning a benevolent eye toward the real criminals: the anarchists, black thugs, and degenerates who successfully denied UTR attendees the right to free assembly and free speech.
If Moore continues in this vein, he is only finishing the job started by the Charlottesville Mayor, city council and police department, in collusion with the Virginia State Police and, no doubt, more senior elements. The fault was theirs, whether by negligence or device. This is not a groundless theory, but the findings of the independent report of Timothy Heaphy, the former (and Obama-appointed) US Attorney for the Western District of Virginia.
Should Fields be found not guilty, the authorities know that they will have to contend with a maelstrom leftist outrage, as other jurisdictions across America are all too familiar. From Ferguson to Portland, Berkeley to Washington DC, the forces of radical decline have scarred the face of our nation.
If only our leaders had the will to rule.
Note: Quotes are based on notes taken in court the morning of 29 November, 2018. I do not know shorthand, and at times the attorneys spoke quickly or inaudibly. There may be some minor mistakes in transcription, but the overall tone and substance is true.