This week, at long last, a civil suit against the organizers of the so-called “Unite the RIght” protest in Charlottesville in 2017 has come to trial.
The plaintiffs, including several people who were injured in the chaos, are charging that the defendants plotted to bring violence to Charlottesville. If the plaintiff’s lawyers prove the case — and they have a lot of evidence on their side — they hope the judgements against the organizers will literally bankrupt them and their groups.
Of all the defendants — a group of two dozen in all, including the allegedly dapper Nazi Richard Spencer and the heads of far-right groups like the now-defunct Identity Evropa — the most outrageous is a fellow longtime readers of this blog know all too well: Men’s Rights Activist-turned-Hitler-quoting Nazi Christopher Cantwell. (Seriously, take a look at some of the stuff on Cantwell in the We Hunted the Mammoth archives.)
So here are a few fun facts about this terrible person.
Fun Fact Number One: Cantwell’s opening statement yesterday was a holy mess, described by Buzzfeed as “a racist, stream-of-consciousness diatribe.”
As Buzzfeed reported:
Wearing a blue shirt without a tie or jacket, [Cantwell] proceeded to name-check Mein Kampf, drop the n-word, plug his far-right radio program, call himself “good-looking” and a “professional artist,” and blast antifascist activists all in a matter of minutes.
You might wonder why his lawyer allowed him to make such a statement. That leads us to …
Fun Fact Two: Cantwell, dumped by his lawyers, is representing himself in court. Cantwell’s lawyers quit the case because they couldn’t control their client’s often bizarre and self-destructive behavior, and for some reason no one else wants to work with him. This is a civil suit so there’s no court-appointed lawyer. “I’m not a lawyer,” Cantwell joked in court yesterday, but “I’m the best attorney I could afford.”
Co-defendant Spencer is also representing himself — in his case, because he’s run out of money. Maybe he could sell some of his old Depeche Mode CDs now that the band has officially stated they don’t want him as a fan. (Singer Dave Gahan worded it a little more pungently.)
Fun Fact Three: The non-lawyers (and the defendants with lawyers) are up against an attorney who has argued cases before the Supreme Court (and won). As Raw Story notes, Roberta Kaplan:
is the most renowned lawyer on either side of the case. As someone who argued before the US Supreme Court in United States vs. Windsor, a case that paved the way for legalizing same-sex marriage, she’s one of the most influential lawyers of her generation.
Fun Fact Four: Cantwell reportedly psyched himself up for his court appearance by watching lots of Tucker Carlson in prison, where he’s serving a three-year sentence for threats and extortion.
As Buzzfeed reports:
A man who spent five months with Cantwell in the same unit in a medium-security prison in Marion, Illinois, said Cantwell was inspired and emboldened by the polarizing messages emanating from Fox News — specifically Tucker Carlson. In a filing in the Charlottesville lawsuit, Cantwell specifically cites Carlson as someone with whom he shares many views.
Two white supremacist peas in a pod.
Fun Fact Five: Before he went full-fash, Cantwell was known as a Men’s Rights Activist, contributing a number of articles to the Men’s Rights hate site A Voice for Men, on subjects ranging from Elliot Rodger to women not being smart enough for STEM. (When I pointed him out as someone who was harassing others online and telling them to kill themselves, AVFM’s head boy Paul Elam defended him and told me to kill myself.)
A Voice for Men seems to have very poor judgement when it comes to whom they will praise and/or publish. Last year the very odd, very angry MRA lawyer Roy Den Hollander — who had been, yes, both praised and published by AVFM —murdered a rival MRA lawyer and shot down two family members of a federal judge before killing himself. (AVFM’s excuses were a sight to behold.)
But that’s a whole other kettle of worms.
More fun facts as they arise in the ongoing trainwreck in Charlottesville.
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