Following the hateful, violent, white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, a group of community members who were injured filed a federal lawsuit against the hate groups and leaders who organized the violence, seeking compensatory and injunctive relief. Integrity First for America (IFA), a non-profit civil rights organization, is supporting the litigation, including security costs for plaintiffs and their counsel. The court in this case just rejected defendants’ attempt to silence IFA and plaintiffs, after ECBAWM filed an opposition on IFA’s behalf.
Three defendants in the case filed a motion asking the court to issue an order forbidding the plaintiffs and their counsel from making any extrajudicial public statements about this case. They also asked the court to include IFA — which is not a party to the case — in the gag order, specifically forbidding IFA from carrying out its core, constitutionally protected mission, which is to advocate around and raise funds to pay for security and logistics for the plaintiffs and their trial team. The petitioners offered no evidence or legal authority in support of their position, despite the fact that they asked the court for a prior restraint on the First Amendment rights of plaintiffs, their counsel, and a non-party.
On behalf of Integrity First for America, ECBAWM filed a memorandum of law in opposition to petitioners’ motion. As explained in the filing, “Petitioners are not concerned about the impact of pre-trial publicity on the venire pool; rather, they are seeking to use the powers of this Court to prevent IFA from raising money, which will be used to keep Plaintiffs and their lawyers safe and to support the trial in Charlottesville later this month.”
The court has now agreed with ECBAWM and denied defendants’ motion to silence IFA in its entirety.