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Kessler, McNeish Appear in Charlottesville General District Court

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Two men involved in an incident during a protest in Charlottesville last weekend now have trial dates.

Thirty-three-year-old Jason E. Kessler and 28-year-old Jordan C. McNeish both appeared in Charlottesville General District Court Wednesday, May 17. Neither man has an attorney at this time.

Kessler, a Charlottesville-based blogger who attempted to have Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy removed from office, and McNeish are each charged with disorderly conduct.

Police say McNeish spat on Kessler’s face during a rally over the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Lee Park Sunday, May 14.

Kessler is accused of not listening to officers' commands to leave the park and for using a bullhorn to incite others.

"Mr. Kessler on Sunday showed up in that space, invaded it violently with the express purpose of causing a confrontation and inciting conflict," claimed Pam Starsia, who says she was at Sunday's rally.

"I think that man's politics are politics of violence. Even though he wasn't behaving violently himself, just having those beliefs and the way that he just tells himself, it's not good," said McNeish outside of court Wednesday.

Kessler did not speak to the press.

The blogger was given 30 days of suspended jail time for an assault charge from an incident on the Downtown Mall on January 22. A judge could order Kessler to serve that time behind bars if he is convicted on the disorderly conduct charge.

Kessler is also due in Charlottesville General District Court in June for a charge he filed against Sara Tansey, accusing her of stealing his phone during a rally held Republican gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart in Lee Park back in February.

Kessler says Joseph Draego caught up to Tansey and got the phone back. Tansey filed a misdemeanor assault charge against Draego, claiming he punched her in the face to get the phone.

Draego had previous filed a lawsuit against Charlottesville, claiming City Council denied his right to free speech during a public meeting. A judge dismissed the case.

Fluvanna County Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Haislip has been appointed to be the special prosecutor in the case between Kessler and Tansey.

Kessler and McNeish are scheduled to face trial June 30.

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