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Subpoena for Chat App Could Expose Identities of Charlottesville White Supremacists

White supremacists who participated in the infamous Unite the Right rally may soon be unmasked by a subpoena for messages on the chat app Discord. In a federal lawsuit, counter-protesters contend that messages on the secure app show that organizers of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville “conspired to commit acts of violence, intimidation and harassment,” The Washington Post reported. The app allowed rally participants to post anonymously with usernames like “kristall.night” and “WhiteTrash” on threads that could only be joined by invitation, according to the court documents. The messages included plans for how to make weapons. “If you don’t have a flame thrower you’re wrong. Just oven yourself and get it over with,” a user named Athena Marie wrote. “A real man knows how to make a shield a deadly weapon,” said O.W. von Diez. A third user wrote, “FIGHT UNTIL THE LAST DROP.” The woman who goes by “kristall.night” sued to prevent the subpoena, claiming it would infringe on her right to “anonymous speech” and saying that she would fear for her safety if her identity is revealed. U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero said he would not quash the subpoena, but would classify her identifying information as “highly confidential,” placing limits on who can access it. White supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis gathered last year at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, where one counter-protester, Heather Heyer, was killed.