The federal jury asked whether it was possible to separate the punitive amounts awarded to individual plaintiffs in claim three. The jury did not mention one or two claims.
The three claims in the judgment are related to the Virginia Civil Conspiracy Law. The form requires jurors to list the amount of punitive damages (if any) that should be awarded to each defendant, rather than the amount that should be awarded to a particular plaintiff.
U.S. District Judge Norman Moon said in response to the jury that they could not separate the punitive amounts awarded to individual plaintiffs in the three claims, and only those plaintiffs who received compensatory damages could receive punitive damages.
This is the fifth question raised by the jury since its deliberations last Friday.
On Monday, the 12-member panel asked Moon if they could not agree on the first three allegations, whether they need to agree on each of the last three allegations.
Two of the crimes-five and six-were only related to the behavior of James Alex Fields Jr., who drove a car into the protest crowd, killing one person and injuring dozens of others. The other involves racial, religious or ethnic harassment or violence.
Without the jury present, the judge said: “I don’t know why there is any misunderstanding. I think I will tell them that they must continue to work hard to reach a consensus on all six charges.”
The jury will decide in each charge whether each defendant should be liable for damages. In a civil trial, the plaintiff’s lawyer must prove that the defendant has the responsibility of “advantageous evidence,” Moon told the jurors that this means that a 50.1% or greater probability is true.
Plans to demolish the statue sparked a rally
Twelve people and five white supremacist and nationalist organizations were listed as defendants in the civil lawsuit.
Plaintiffs, including urban residents and counter-protesters injured in the conflict, are seeking compensation and statutory compensation for the physical and psychological injuries they suffered as a result of the violence in the assembly. They also argued that the organizers of the rally were involved in conspiracies and planned violent activities to trigger racial and religious wars.
The defense lawyer and two well-known defendants who represented themselves argued that none of the plaintiffs could prove that the defendant organized racial violence.
According to the instructions of the jurors, in order for the main conspiracy lawsuit to succeed, the plaintiff must prove that there was a conspiracy involving two or more people.
In addition, the jury’s instructions stated that the plaintiff must prove that the conspiracy was partly motivated by “hostility” towards blacks or Jews, or because the plaintiff supported these communities and that this conspiracy was designed to deprive them of their right to be protected from racial violence.
Finally, according to the instructions, the plaintiff must prove that at least one person in the conspiracy “taken an open act” while continuing racial violence and that the plaintiff was harmed by the act.
One of the lawyers representing the plaintiff, Roberta Kaplan, stated that the plaintiff who was hit by the Fields car requested US$7 million to US$10 million, while the other plaintiffs demanded US$3 million to US$5 million.
The plaintiff’s lawyer said that the defendant is seeking a fight
Under the protection of the non-profit organization Integrity First for America, a strong team of lawyers is representing the plaintiffs in their civil cases.
In the closing statement, the lawyer representing the plaintiff told the jury that the defendant was prepared for the “Battle of Charlottesville”, and the messages sent between them and their behavior after the violence proved their conspiracy.
Lawyers displayed texts and messages on an online platform called Discord and even on Facebook Messenger to show that the organizers not only want the anti-protesters they call antifa or communists to appear, but they also expect a quarrel. Lawyers said that the organizers wanted this battle very much, and they even tried to delay the counter-demonstrators, hoping they would hit the first punch.
The defense says there is no evidence of the conspiracy
The defense lawyer and two well-known defendants who represented themselves countered that none of the plaintiffs proved that the defendants organized racial violence.
“The plaintiff must prove the agreement. The agreement is not a virus that can be spread at the assembly,” said Brian Jones, a lawyer representing the three defendants.
The defendants argued throughout the trial that not only did they not know each other, but they were just taking security measures to prevent them from being attacked by Antifa. The defendants also claimed that their hate speech was nothing more than a dirty joke that should not be taken seriously.
CNN’s Mark Morales reports in Charlottesville, and Steve Almasy reports and writes in Atlanta. Aya Elamroussi and Amir Vera of CNN contributed to this report.
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