An organizer of the white supremacist Unite The Right rally privately discussed raising an army, attacking Jewish people, and murdering a colleague in the movement, a jury heard this week.
Sines v. Kessler, an ongoing lawsuit, seeks to hold organizers of Unite The Right responsible for the deadly rally’s violence. But not all of the defendants—a coalition of far-right groups and leaders—have been cooperative. Central to the case is Elliott Kline, a Unite The Right organizer who has failed to appear in court or turn over court-ordered evidence. Instead, jurors this week heard from Kline’s ex-girlfriend and reviewed Kline’s text messages, both of which suggested plots for violence.
In June 2017, nearly two months before the deadly rally, Kline messaged fellow white supremacists about the event’s dress code and its forecast for violence.
“I think we are going to see some serious brawls in Charlottesville,” Kline wrote on the messaging platform Discord, according to evidence entered in court this week. He added that attendees were likely “gonna see blood on some of these white polos lol.”
The white polos shirts, an unofficial uniform for white supremacists at the deadly rally, became infamous after fascists wore them at a violent torchlit march on Aug. 11 and again on Aug. 12, when a neo-Nazi drove a car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators, murdering one. Defendants in Sines v. Kessler argue that they could not have foreseen the weekend’s violence, and were not responsible for the car attack.
The case’s nine plaintiffs, who are being backed by the group Integrity First For America, argue that the organizers’ messages reveal a violent plot—one that was ultimately successful. Although Kline has not appeared at trial (he previously served jail time for contempt of court in this case), he did previously give a filmed deposition, which was played in court on Wednesday and Thursday. In that deposition, an attorney shows Kline a picture of himself at Unite The Right. In the picture, taken on the rally’s second day, Kline is wearing a white polo speckled with what he admits is probably blood.
Kline’s role in Unite The Right is critical in plaintiffs’ efforts to describe the event as organized violence. In his deposition, Kline admitted to being a moderator of the Discord group that planned Unite The Right, as well as 35 other Discord groups and five Slack groups, all dedicated to far-right planning. Kline also testified to having been on the payroll of white supremacist group Identity Evropa and white supremacist Richard Spencer, both of whom are defendants in the case. In one text message, to another rally organizer, Kline stated that “this is my full time job.”
Those payments paint a picture of an organized alt-right movement in the months before and after Unite The Right. One text message in the court case, which Kline appears to have sent after the rally, sheds more light on far-right funding, and describes a recent breakup Kline experienced after the violent event.
“I’m about to double down in the movement harder than i already have,” Kline wrote, as The Daily Beast previously reported. “I asked her if she thought it was a good idea. She was excited. And now she wants out. It’s too late for me to turn it down now. Half the reason I took the opportunity was because I knew I'd be able to support her with it. It’s secret but I'm taking over IE [Identity Evropa] from nathan and I'm going to be paid from private donors some good money.”
The breakup was likely with Kline’s ex-girlfriend, Samantha Froelich, who gave a damning deposition in the case.
Froelich, who has since left the far-right, testified that she previously worked as a membership coordinator for Identity Evropa. There, she said she witnessed membership applications soar after the group’s then-leader Nathan Damigo was filmed punching a woman in the face. (Patrick Casey, a white supremacist who would later take over for Damigo, spoke approvingly of the act. “Jesus, we’re swamped,” read a message from Casey, which was displayed in court. “Nathan should punch women in the face more often.”)
Identity Evropa was gearing up to be a fighting force, with Kline at its head, Froelich testified this week. Kline discussed raising “a militia for Richard Spencer,” describing himself as “willing to make an army for Richard,” Froelich said. But not all was friendly between Kline and Spencer, she testified, adding that Kline had mulled plans to “kill Richard and take over all of it.”
Froelich also testified that Kline complained to her about being unable to kill Jews—remarks Kline testified were just jokes.
Although plaintiffs’ attorneys had a deposition from Kline, they had even less cooperation from defendant Robert “Azzmador” Ray, who has gone missing with a warrant for his arrest, rather than face trial. Instead, attorneys showed Ray’s Discord messages, including those at which he discussed Unite The Right attendees showing up with shields and equipment that could be used as a weapon.
“This is a war, not a party,” Ray told prospective attendees in July. That same month, he attended a long conversation with the event’s organizers, details of which he relayed on Discord.
“The plan is the same,” he announced, “gas the k*kes.”