Jeffrey Winder, a man who punched “Unite the Right” Charlottesville organizer Jason Kessler last year during the news conference in August 2017, was ordered to pay a $1 fine by a jury Tuesday, according to the Charlottesville Progress.
The “Unite the Right” rally on Aug. 12, 2017, turned violent, leading to the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer, who was struck by a vehicle that hit her and others protesting against the rally.
James Alex Fields Jr., 21, of Maumee, Ohio, has been charged with 30 federal crimes in the incident that injured several others, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. He is also charged with murder and other crimes in Virginia state court.
Winder was charged with striking Kessler as he was chased away from the news conference the next day by an angry mob after Kessler allegedly blamed the police for the violence that ultimately led to Heyer’s death, the Charlottesville Progress reported.
A court found Winder and Phoebe Stevens guilty of assault and battery against Kessler and sentenced to 30 days in jail, with the time suspended in General District Court, the Progress wrote. Both, though, appeared to the city’s circuit court.
Kessler testified in trial that while he was not injured, he suffered emotional trauma from the incident, the newspaper stated.
“I was attacked in front of the whole world, and then people made fun of me for it,” Kessler said, per the Progress.
Special prosecutor D. Michael Caudill said there was enough evidence to convict Winder even though he never admitted to hitting Kessler, the newspaper stated.
“He (Kessler) had an incredible amount of nerve coming in front of the people of Charlottesville after the pain, suffering, and terror that he brought on the community,” Winder told WVIR-TV in an interview after the incident. “He should never be allowed to show his face in town again.”
Jurors upheld Winder’s misdemeanor conviction, but recommended that he pay the $1 fine with no jail time, WVIR-TV reported.
“The circumstance of this case is obviously not something that I don’t think has ever been seen before,” Winder’s attorney James Abrenio said after the decision, the television station noted. “We have a guy (Kessler) who is going out of his way to take, make profit off tragedy, and that’s really what this is about.”
Winder told the television station that he will decide later if he will appeal his conviction to the Virginia state court of appeals.
According to the Washington Post, the lenient verdict against Winder is the least of Kessler’s worries. Since the ugly Unite the Right rally, Kessler has lost followers and prominent racists have broken ties with him, per the newspaper.
His own father publicly came out against his actions while some Charlottesville residents have filed lawsuits against him, the Post stated.