UPDATE: No verdict yet in ‘Unite the Right’ trial, jury excused for the weekend

Virginia News

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — Jurors did not reach a verdict after their first day of deliberations in the civil trial of the organizers of the deadly ‘Unite the Right’ rally.

After a full day of closing arguments in the Unite the Right civil trial in federal court on Thursday, jury deliberations began on Friday in Charlottesville.

Jurors were given 47 pages of instructions outlining the relevant legal standards that they will need to consider when reaching a verdict and awarding damages.

After 8 hours of deliberations, Judge Hon. Norman K. Moon dismissed jurors until Monday morning, allowing them to take the instructions with them to review, but warning them not to discuss them with anyone else. He also reminded the jurors “you aren’t to read, listen, watch anything concerning the case over the weekend.”

The federal lawsuit alleges that two dozen white nationalists and white supremacist organizations conspired to commit violence during the 2017 Unite the Right rally, when James Fields drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing Heather Heyer and injuring others in the chaos of the weekend.

The plaintiffs who were hit by Fields’ car are seeking $7 million to $10 million in compensatory damages, while others are asking for $3 million to $5 million.

8News has learned that one of the jurors in the trial has been excused due to a possible COVID-19 exposure. Juror No. 210 learned that their children have had to enter quarantine because of the exposure.

Attorneys for the nine plaintiffs in the case, along with the lawyers for the 24 defendants, made closing arguments in the trial on Thursday.

The plaintiffs attorneys argued the organizers came for a battle in Charlottesville, recruiting foot soldiers and coming armed with flagpoles doubling as weapons.

The defense has worked to separate the organizers of the rally from Fields, painting him as a lone wolf. They argue the organizers could not have foreseen the violence, and their sometimes racial phrasing and communications prior to the rally is protected by the First Amendment.

Judge Moon took 30 minutes on Friday morning providing instructions for the jury before they entered deliberations.

The jury will have to decide in each instance whether a defendant is liable for damages. In a civil trial, plaintiffs’ attorneys have to show a defendant is liable by a “preponderance of evidence.”

Stay with 8News for updates throughout the day as this story develops.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

StormTracker 8

Trending Stories

More Trending Stories

Local Events