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Albemarle County Judge Considers Change of Venue for Jason Kessler

Posted: Updated: Feb 13, 2018 11:42 AM
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Unite the Right rally organizer Jason Eric Kessler will have to wait on a judge's decision to see if his perjury case will be taken up in a different courthouse.

Kessler is currently scheduled to face a jury in Albemarle Circuit Court on March 20. His defense attorney, Mike Hallahan, filed motions last month to have the trial moved to a different court.

Hallahan has argued that his 34-year-old client has received "negative attention" over the past year, and that Kessler has been "demonized by the media."

“We might have a guy on the jury that loves Jason Kessler, but is not going to say anything because he doesn't want the commonwealth's attorney to strike him off the jury. We also might have somebody that hates Jason Kessler who doesn't want to say anything because they don't want me to strike them off the jury," Hallahan said.

The defense attorney also claims the Charlottesville Police Department is afraid of potential backlash and protesting that could happen at the courthouse.

Judge Cheryl Higgins decided Tuesday, January 30, to put the motion under advisement, meaning she can change the location if she decides that is more appropriate.

Kessler is charged with one felony count of perjury. The prosecution claims Kessler made a false statement to a magistrate at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail about an assault on the Downtown Mall last year. He entered a guilty plea on a misdemeanor charge of assault on April 6, 2017.

Hallahan said he is also interested in creating a questionnaire for the jury pool to fill out: "We'll have to ask jurors very specific questions about their potential biases and try to find twenty fair people to seat," said the attorney.

Judge Higgins is taking the questionnaire under advisement, as well.