Three members of a now-defunct white supremacist group were sentenced to over two years in jail on Friday for beating, kicking and stifling protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville and events in California.
Benjamin Daley, 26, Michael Miselis (30) and Thomas Gillen (25) were members of a group known as the "Rise Above Movement" and have previously pleaded guilty to a plot to riot. said the US Attorney for the Western District of Virginia with a statement Friday.
"These defendants, motivated by hateful ideologies, have instigated and committed acts of violence in Charlottesville and other alleged political rallies in California," US attorney Thomas T. Cullen said in a statement.
"They had no interest in peaceful protest or a lawful statement of the First Amendment, but wanted to provoke street fighting with those they considered their enemies," he said.
Dal They were sentenced Friday to 37 months, Miselis to 27 months and Gillen to 33 months, the prosecutors said. All three are from California.
A fourth man, Cole Evan White, who has also pleaded guilty to the same charges, is later convicted, the US Attorney's office said.
The prosecutors state from March to August 201
All of them are accused of traveling to the United Right assembly in Charlottesville, where they attended a Tiki torch march the night before, where attendees shared slogans such as "Blood and Ground! "And" Jews will not replace us!
At the rally the next day, they attacked counter-demonstrators, prosecutors said, and as part of their petitions, they admitted that the violence was not self-defense.  At the Unite the Right rally, another man, James Alex Fields Jr., drove his car against a group of protesters who opposed the White Nationalist rally. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed. Fields was sentenced to several life sentences. Daley's attorney Lisa Lorish told the Associated Press that she and Miselis and Gillen's lawyers argued that prosecutors had failed to demonstrate that an improvement in the hate crimes conviction should be applied. Lorish said the judge had denied the improvement for all three men.
Separate charges in California against three other men accused of being in the Rise Above Movement organization and leading to violence in rallies in that state were dismissed in June, the AP reports. The judge ruled in this case that their actions amounted to a constitutionally protected freedom of expression.