Judge to hear arguments over Charlottesville’s Lee statue

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 12:44 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 31, 2023 at 12:51 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The ongoing legal battle over the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is set to be taken up in a Charlottesville courtroom.

It was supposed to take place Wednesday, February 1, but according to the Swords Into Plowshares media representative, it has been postponed to Feb. 16 at 9:30 am. They say it is because the attorney for Charlottesville is sick.

Lawyers for the city, the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation, and Ratcliffe Foundation are expected to lay out their arguments to determine the fate of the Lee statue.

Judge Paul Peatross Jr. will hear those arguments during a bench trial.

“In a bench trial, a judge is the one who’s making the final decision in the case after hearing all of the evidence,” AC Rieman, NBC29′s legal analyst, said.

The plaintiffs, the two foundations, are suing Charlottesville to stop the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center from melting down the statue and repurposing it into public art.

“There will be witnesses that are called to testify. Those witnesses will have to be cross examined,” Rieman said.

While it is scheduled to be a one-day hearing, Judge Peatross’ decision could take longer to come down.

“This judge has already made a lot of rulings on the case, as far as what evidence and arguments will be heard. So, it’s likely that we’ll have some type of resolution this week,” Rieman said. “Whether it’s a same day verdict, I don’t think would probably happen.”

When that ruling does come, consider it as the next step and not the final answer.

“Everything’s happening right now in the circuit court. If one of the sides does not get the outcome that they were hoping for, they could always appeal the case,” Rieman said.

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