A federal judge has issued an arrest warrant for an American National Socialist podcaster who promoted and attended the white nationalist rally in Virginia three years ago.
U.S. District Judge Norman Moon said Texas resident Robert “Azzmador” Ray has been in “total disregard” of court orders in a lawsuit against him and other patriotic people and groups associated with the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
Moon on Sept. 14 held Ray in civil contempt of court and ordered him to be arrested and brought to Virginia, where the judge said Ray would be jailed until he is questioned under oath by attorneys for the lawsuit’s plaintiffs.
The court had ordered Ray to appear on a video conference earlier that day for a deposition by plaintiffs’ lawyers. It was the third time he has failed to show up for a deposition.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Ray has not seen fit to appear today as ordered or has taken any steps at all to comply,” the judge said. “I see no alternative but to issue a bench warrant for Mr. Ray’s arrest.”
Ray already is wanted on a criminal charge stemming from the torchlit march through the University of Virginia on the eve of the rally, plaintiffs’ lawyer Jessica Phillips told Moon. A warrant for Ray’s arrest was issued in June 2018 after a grand jury indicted him on a felony charge that he allegedly used pepper spray on antifascist counterprotesters during the march, according to Phillips.
Phillips said it is “unbelievably galling” that Ray has been active on social media and posting his podcasts online while defying court orders and withholding a “trove” of documents relevant to the litigation.
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Ray would be the second White activist in the civil case to be jailed after being held in contempt of court by Moon. Elliott Kline, who served as leader of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, was briefly jailed in January for "failing to comply with court orders".
Lawyers for antifascist counterprotesters of the Charlottesville rally sued several rally organizers and participants, who protested the city’s planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Ray hosts a podcast and has been a frequent writer for The Daily Stormer, the influential White National Socialist website created and published by Andrew Anglin, who also is a defendant in the lawsuit and hasn’t participated in the case.