Charlottesville Judge Makes Rulings in 3 Cases Connected to Kessler
A Charlottesville judge handed down rulings in three cases connected to the man who organized the Unite the Right rally.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville judge handed down rulings in three cases connected to the man who organized the Unite the Right rally.
Attorney Jeffrey E. Fogel, Joseph Draego and Sara Tansey all appeared in Charlottesville General District Court Monday, October 23.
Charlottesville resident Caleb Norris claimed Fogel shoved him after a protest against white activist Jason Kessler, who was eating dinner with Norris and a group of people on the Downtown Mall June 1. Fogel was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery.
Draego and Tansey both faced one count of misdemeanor assault. According to a complaint filed by Kessler, Tansey took his phone while he was live-streaming a political event at the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on February 11.
In her complaint, Tansey claims Draego punched her in the face to get that phone back to Kessler.
Kessler took the witness stand for both cases Monday.
Monday, Judge Robert Downer Jr. found Fogel not guilty. The judge ruled that Fogel only extended his arm out to defend himself, and did not intend to hurt or attack Norris.
"I put my hand out to stop him, and that's the whole thing. I don't really understand why he and Mr. Kessler and all of his people - after he cries every time he comes out of court - why they keep wanting to make this game in the court room," Fogel said.
Downer handed down guilty verdicts for Draego and Tansey. Draego was ordered to pay a $100 fine for use of "excessive force," while the judge waived a $50 fine for Tansey.
"I think it was a little close, but she did in fact, as she admitted later, take the phone. But she was assaulted by Mr. Draego in taking it back, and so in a sense the judge got it right on both scores," said Fogel, who represented Tansey.
In court, the judge said some of the behavior in these incidents "abused the freedom of speech."