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Copy-The Latest: Judge to rule later on lawsuit over Rebel statue

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - The Latest on the aftermath of a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

A judge in Virginia says he will decide later whether a lawsuit over Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. can proceed to trial.

After a hearing Friday, Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Richard E. Moore said he may have a decision within two to three weeks.

Controversy over the statue sparked an Aug. 12 "Unite the Right" rally that descended into violent chaos. Charlottesville has since shrouded the monument with a black tarp as a symbol of mourning for a woman who was killed in the violence.

A group of plaintiffs that includes area residents and the Virginia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans sued after Charlottesville's City Council voted earlier this year to remove the statue. They say that decision violates a state law on memorials for war veterans.

1 p.m.

A Virginia man who says he was beaten during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville is hoping that a lawsuit will bring answers about police response to the event that turned violent.

Robert Turner is suing the city of Charlottesville, its police chief and the Virginia State Police superintendent. He gave a prepared statement at a press conference in Charlottesville Friday. Turner says he was beaten and sprayed with mace during the Aug. 12 rally and that authorities nearby didn't intervene. He says he wants to know why.

Authorities have been criticized by the white nationalists and by counterprotesters, who say officers didn't do enough to keep the two sides separate or break up fights. Top public safety officials have defended the response.

City officials and a state police spokeswoman have declined to comment on the lawsuit.

10 a.m.

A man has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for trying to keep members of the Ku Klux Klan from entering a Virginia park.

News outlets report that 52-year-old Thomas Freeman pleaded guilty Thursday to obstructing the free passage of others and was sentenced to 10 hours of community service.

Freeman and other counter-protesters were arrested after they linked arms to try to block members of the KKK from holding a demonstration at a Charlottesville park on July 8.

Freeman rejected an offer to avoid a criminal conviction by performing community service, saying he felt obligated to plead guilty.

More than a dozen other counter-protesters who were arrested also appeared in court on Thursday. Their hearings were continued until October.

The small KKK rally came about a month before violence erupted at a large white nationalist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12.

6 a.m.

A judge in Virginia is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit over Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The controversy over the statue sparked the Aug. 12 "Unite the Right" rally that descended into violent chaos. Charlottesville has since shrouded the monument with a black tarp as a symbol of mourning for the woman who was killed.

Attorneys for both sides will be in court Friday for a hearing on whether the lawsuit should proceed. The city has asked that it be dismissed.

A group of plaintiffs that includes area residents and the Virginia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans sued after Charlottesville's City Council voted earlier this year to remove the statue. They say that decision violates a state law on memorials for war veterans.

This story corrects the 6:05 p.m. item to say Charlottesville, not Charleston

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