Jason Kessler, an organizer behind a white supremacist rally that became violent in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, has won five dollars in a lawsuit against an activist who cursed at him, The Daily Progress reported.
Kessler, one of the organizers of the "Unite the Right" rally that led to clashes that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, had filed a lawsuit against activist Donna Gasapo, saying that she had directed profanity and insults at him that could have provoked him into violence, the report said.
"This is an opportunity to bring civility back to our community," Kessler said, The Daily Progress reported.
Gasapo did not deny that she used profanity against Kessler outside a courtroom trial in March. Kessler posted a video of the incident, in which Gasapo yelled, "*** you… crybaby Kessler," the report said.
Kessler said that Gasapo falsely said he was to blame for Heyer’s murder in the rally, which he helped organize, The Daily Progress reported.
The activist’s attorney said Kessler did not suffer damage from Gasapo’s words.
Gasapo said she said the words in anger.
"Someone in our community was murdered. White supremacists stormed into our city. It doesn’t sit well with me," Gasapo said when asked about her language, The Daily Progress reported.
However, Judge Robert H. Downer ruled that Gasapo’s words did not harm Kessler, since he posted a video of the incident online.
Downer said Kessler is a public figure and Gasapo was free to make public statements, but her language outside the courtroom could have resulted in violence.
"I’m comforted by the fact that the judge recognized that Mr. Kessler was not damaged in any way here… I think we should all be very concerned about what this ruling means in terms of opening up other frivolous harassment suits against members of our community who are expressing their opinions and their very real feelings of frustration, which we believe are protected by the First Amendment," Gasapo’s attorney Pam Starsia said.
Kessler has said that a second "Unite the Right" event would be peaceful, but leaked messages show that the organizers are quietly inviting members of violent paramilitary groups, The Daily Beast reported.
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