A Charlottesville Man Was Fined $1 For Punching Unite The Right's Organizer

"They clearly thought about it very sincerely," his lawyer says.

A Charlottesville man who punched the organizer of last year's fatal Unite the Right rally, Jason Kessler, has been fined only $1 by a local jury. 

In August 2017, Kessler helped lead a white nationalist rally in the Virginia city that ended in the death of 32-year-old activist Heather Heyer. Heyer was killed when a man drove a car through a crowd of counterprotesters during the violent event. 

The day after the rally, Kessler attempted to hold a press conference to speak to the media, but was forced to flee from an angry crowd. Among those in the crowd? Jeffrey Winder, who prosecutors said could be seen in photographs punching Kessler in the head as he tried to leave the conference. 

Winder was found guilty of assault and battery in February and initially given a 30-day suspended jail sentence, but later appealed the decision. Now, Charlottesville Circuit Court jury is upholding the conviction, but allowing Winder a much lighter punishment. As announced on Tuesday in court, Winder will serve no jail time and pay only $1 for the charges — a minimal sentence, given he faced up a maximum of a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. 

"They clearly thought about it very sincerely," Winder's attorney, James Abrenio, told NPR of the decision. He also praised the judge and prosecutor in the case, saying, "They were all kind."

Despite the minimal sentencing, Winder and his attorney are still deciding whether to file another appeal. "We still have an avenue" to challenge the guilty finding," Abrenio told NPR. 

Cover image via Joseph Gruber / Shutterstock.com.


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