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White Supremacists Behind The Charlottesville Rally Are Going To Court

Roberta Kaplan is suing people and groups involved in organizing the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Posted at 2:38 PM, Feb 23, 2018

Roberta Kaplan argued and ultimately won one of the most consequential cases in this nation's history. 

"While Windsor was obviously about the equal protection and the equal dignity of every American, in a certain sense, Charlottesville is no different; it's just much more overt," Kaplan said about the Charlottesville, Virginia, "Unite the Right" rally.

After paving the way to help make gay marriage a nationwide reality, she's now set her sights on the riots in Charlottesville and the white supremacists who put it together.

"It was unbelievably shocking to me. ... You can't fully ever heal those wounds, but one way to heal them, and I think that's what every one of our plaintiffs believes, is to hold the people who did it accountable. And that's what this lawsuit is all about," Kaplan said.

Some have framed the events in Charlottesville as just an exercise of the First Amendment gone wrong. Kaplan disagrees. Her complaint very specifically says, "The violence in Charlottesville was no accident."

"As odious and as offensive as I find their speech to be, this case is not about their speech; it's about what they did," Kaplan said.

Roberta Kaplan, the founding partner of Kaplan & Company law firm, is suing more than a dozen different white supremacists, neo-Nazi organizations and white nationalists involved in organizing the rally in Charlottesville.

The lawsuit, Sines v. Kessler, accuses these people and groups of conspiring to "plan, promote and carry out violence." It claims what happened in Charlottesville in August 2017 was a "direct, intended and foreseeable result" that ultimately all "went according to plan."

The case rests upon what's called "civil conspiracy law," which essentially says the defendants in the lawsuit had an agreement and plan to break the law before the rally even started. Kaplan says messages shared between those who participated in the rally show they formed and executed an illegal plan to injure and terrorize.

"We want this case to act as a deterrent to others ... Anyone thinking about doing that pauses and changes their mind because they understand if they do, there's going to be a very large lawsuit filed against them with potentially huge monetary damages awarded," Kaplan said. "Rather than fighting on the streets the way the Nazis and white supremacists believe, I believe the way to fight back is to fight in court."

The judge plans to meet with Kaplan and make a decision on the motion to dismiss the lawsuit sometime in mid-March.