CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – A federal judge on Friday denied a request to move the trial in a lawsuit filed against organizers of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
US District Court Judge Norman Moon first raised the idea of moving the trial during a conference call in the case earlier this month, citing potential logistical and security issues associated with holding the trial in the US District Court in Charlottesville. After that hearing, the defendants in the case filed motions supporting the transfer of the trial to Lynchburg or Roanoke.
In a ruling Friday, Moon rejected the transfer, noting that many of the plaintiffs lived, worked and studied in Charlottesville, where they allege they were injured. The judge also said that the convenience for the parties and witnesses was tipped in favor of keeping the trial in Charlottesville.
“The Court determines that the factor of the interests of justice continues to support the holding of this trial in Charlottesville instead of transferring it, so that the trial takes place in the community most directly affected by the Unite the Right demonstration,” he wrote Moon in his ruling.
Violent street clashes broke out in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017, before a man fascinated with Adolf Hitler threw his car into a crowd of counter-protesters and killed a woman. Lawyers for victims of the violence sued various far-right groups and individuals who participated in the event, which was organized in part to protest the city’s planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
The trial is scheduled for October.