Lawyer: Feds must provide papers from Charlottesville white nationalist case

Posted at 3:42 PM, Jul 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-25 15:42:38-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The plaintiffs in a civil rights lawsuit over the violence in 2017 in Charlottesville, say federal prosecutors must provide documents used in its criminal case against a white nationalist.

Community members who filed the lawsuit against prominent white supremacists and hate groups contend Justice Department lawyers have wrongly denied their request for evidence in the investigation of James Alex Fields Jr.

Related: Charlottesville car attacker sentenced to life, plus 419 years on state charges

Authorities said Fields drove a car into a group of people, killing a counterprotester and injuring more than two dozen others. The plaintiffs' lawyers say the documents are relevant to an important civil rights case going to court in October.

Fields is serving life in prison after pleading guilty last year to federal hate crimes.

In a motion filed on Friday, the plaintiffs’ lawyers want a judge to force the government lawyers to provide in part documents the FBI collected from Fields’ computer and cellphone, as well as recordings of his phone calls while in federal custody, AP reports. The lawyers filed subpoenas for the documents last September. A month later, according to Friday’s filing, the Justice Department wrote that it “would not be in the best interests of the United States” to provide the information requested.