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Charlottesville Confederate statues are protected, judge rules

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A Virginia judge has ruled Charlottesville's Confederate statues are monuments protected by state law.

Judge Richard Moore's ruling came in a lawsuit filed against Charlottesville City Council. Robert E. Lee.

Moore cited how statues of Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson depicts the men in military uniforms and on horses associated with them during the Civil War.

Moore acknowledged the controversy that has surrounded Confederate statues in recent years, and said that he was ruling on the Lee and Jackson statues in Charlottesville case of the memorials in Virginia law.

Lee and Jackson as symbols of white supremacy, others see them as brilliant military tacticians or complex leaders in a difficult time … and do not think of white supremacy in, accept, or believe in. In either case, the statues on the undisputed facts of this case are still monuments and memorials to them, as veterans of the Civil War , "Moore wrote."

A statue of Stonewall Jackson at Justice Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 22, 2017. Moore said his rul ing does not guarantee that the plaintiffs will win if the lawsuit goes to trial.

The Monument Fund filed the lawsuit in March 2017, when it was voted to remove the Lee statue.

Former City Councilor Bob Fenwick, a defendant in the lawsuit, told WCAV-TV he believes the council still has a good case to remove the statues.

"The important part is, the council has legislative immunity, sort of like a judge has judicial immunity so that the conclusions and the decisions that we make as Councilors are final," Fenwick said. "It was a lawful act that we did."

Hundreds of white nationalists gathered at Charlottesville in August 2017 to protest the planned removal of the Lee statue.

James Alex Fields, Jr., of Maumee, Ohio, What a convicted of murder and other charges in state court. Fields pleaded guilty last month to federal hate crimes. He is awaiting sentencing.

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