Earlier yesterday, on Monday, June 3, 2019, United States District Judge Cormac Corney handed down a long-awaited decision from his courtroom in Los Angeles, California, in which federal rioting charges were thrown out again three protestors supporting the alt-right or far-right stemming from the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The charges, which were found to not be supported by free speech rights outlined in the United States Constitution, had been facing Aaron Eason, Robert Boman, and Robert Rundo for nearly two years. Each was, at the time, an active part of the far-right political group Rise Above Movement, or RAM. Although authorities believe that Eason has long been a member of Rise Above Movement, Eason’s attorney, John McNicholas, consistently held that Aaron had never been a member of the group.
According to McNicholas, Eason had been involved with supporting far-right interests at major political events across the United States because threats of physical harm to members of Antifa’s opposing forces were consistently brought by Antifa, a loosely-organized group of people who have far-left-leaning views.
Rise Above Movement has been active at most major political protests with large showings of support for far-right ideologies in recent years. It is allegedly led by Robert Rundo, who, along with Robert Boman, was released from jail after spending just short of two years under incarceration.
The trio had been charged under the Anti-Riot Act of 1968, which has been used to charge many accused Americans with rioting over the past 50 years. What’s interesting is that the Anti-Riot Act was found unconstitutional by Judge Corney because it made the advocation of violence without the imminent incidence of rioting illegal.
A judge in United States federal court based out of Virginia also recently found that rioting charges slammed against other protestors belonging to far-right political groups were equally unconstitutional.
An official spokesperson representing the particular division of the United States Attorney’s Office involved in the case thrown out by Judge Corney shared that the agency would be filing an appeal, if possible.
A high-ranking member of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Heidi Beirich, shared with news sources that she hopes courts across the country will continue pursuing cases involving far-right political activism, even though cases such as the two mentioned above have widely been ruled in favor of by presiding judges.