Plaintiffs Continue to Present Evidence in Trial Over Confederate Statues
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - It's all down to attorney fees in the case to preserve a pair of statues of Confederate Army generals in downtown Charlottesville.
Thursday, September 12, marks the second day of trial over how much – if any – money the city will have to pay out to plaintiffs.
The day's proceedings got underway in Charlottesville Circuit Court around 10 a.m. Plaintiffs have continued to present evidence about how much it's costing them to block City Council’s decision.
According to a City Hall insider, the city's insurance company currently isn't paying for litigation costs and any potential penalties awarded to the plaintiffs. The city's hope is that the insurance company will reconsider paying for the litigation costs. If not, the money would have to come directly from the city.
Plaintiffs estimate they will have spent $604,038.33 in legal costs once all is said and done. Additionally, they are seeking $500 each from the city. The Monument Fund, Inc. and the Virginia Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., and 11 individuals - Frederick W. Payne, John Bosley Yellott Jr., Edward D. Tayloe II, Betty Jane Franklin Phillips, Edward Bergen Fry, Virginia C. Amiss, Stefanie Marshall, Charles L. Weber Jr., Lloyd Thomas Smith Jr., Anthony M. Griffin, and Britton Franklin Earnest Sr. – first filed the lawsuit on March 20, 2017.
Councilors Mike Signor, Wes Bellamy, Kathy Galvin, Kristin Szakos, and Bob Fenwick voted several times in 2017 to remove both statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson. All of them have since declined to seek reelection or have lost their seat on City Council.
Judge Richard Moore has to decide if the plaintiffs can be awarded damages for suffering. The judge has already stated that the statues are war memorials, and thus cannot be moved due to state code.
The trial is slated to wrap up by Friday, September 13.