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Charlottesville Court Delays Hearing More Motions in Statue Lawsuit

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

The legal battle over two statues in a pair of downtown Charlottesville parks is being pushed to next year.

Parties were scheduled to appear in Charlottesville Circuit Court for a hearing at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 6, but instead have canceled it. Attorneys were able to sort some the wording of previous orders ahead of time, and the judge set the next hearing for February 5, 2018.

A group of plaintiffs has been fighting Charlottesville since March to keep the statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas Johnathan “Stonewall” Jackson in their current parks. They also want to force the city to remove the “mourning shroud” tarps covering the statues.

Charlottesville City Council had voted in favor of removing the statues from Emancipation and Justice parks, as well as to covering them as a sign of mourning the violent events of August 12.

The lawsuit initially argued that councilors violated a Virginia law that prohibits removing monuments or memorials to war veterans. Plaintiffs have since successfully amended their lawsuit to also include the tarps.

They are claiming City Council never got approval from the Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review to cover the statues. Citing a case out of Alabama, the plaintiffs want the tarps removed from the two statues, or for the city to pay a $25,000 fine for each day they stay.

Judge Richard Moore had extended an injunction back on October 4, keeping the statues in place while the lawsuit goes through the courts. However, the judge had also allowed for the tarps to remain.

Moore had previously ruled that Virginia code for war monuments does apply to Confederate statues, but that the plaintiffs’ complaint did not have sufficient facts to claim that the Lee statue is a war memorial.