- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Two men have been charged with assaulting Jason Kessler, the white nationalist blogger who organized the violent “Unite the Right” rally Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Brandon Collins, 44, and Jeffrey Matthew Winder, 49, were arrested over the weekend on misdemeanor assault charges and summonsed to appear in court later this month, the Charlottesville Police Department said Monday.

Both are accused of attacking Mr. Kessler, 33, as he tried to hold a press conference outside Charlottesville City Hall a day after his far-right “Unite the Right” rally descended into chaos and led to the death of a counterprotester, 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

The Aug. 13 press conference marked Mr. Kessler’s first and only public appearance since Heyer’s death, but lasted only a moment because he was drowned out and then accosted by a crowd of demonstrators. He was able to identity two of the alleged assailants as Mr. Collins and Mr. Winder, and recently convinced a magistrate to issue a warrant for their arrest, Mr. Kessler said in a YouTube video uploaded Monday.

Mr. Kessler was pushed twice by Mr. Collins and punched in the back of the head by Mr. Winder, he said in the video.

“I tried to have a press conference disavowing political violence and these left-wing violent mobs attacked me,” Mr. Kessler said.

Mr. Winder spoke to a local NBC affiliate immediately after the press conference and said at the time that Mr. Kessler “should never be allowed to show his face in town again.” He did not comment on the assault, the affiliate reported.

Mr. Collins “said the warrant for his arrest cites an August 13 incident” but declined to comment on the charge against him, The Daily Progress reported.

Both turned themselves in to police over the weekend and were served without incident, the Charlottesville Police Department said. They’re scheduled to appear for a hearing on the matter Sept. 22.

“Now that the rioters who attacked me are being arrested watch the media trip over themselves to condone left-wing violence,” Mr. Kessler tweeted Sunday.

Mr. Kessler had organized “Unite the Right” to protest Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, but the event was canceled when attendees including neo-Nazis and white supremacists violently clashed with counterprotesters in downtown Charlottesville on the morning of the event. Heyer was killed and 19 were injured when 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters a couple hours later, according to police.

Robert K. Litzenberger, a 47-year-old Charlottesville resident, was also arrested during the Aug. 13 press conference and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery for allegedly spitting on Mr. Kessler.

Mr. Kessler, who said he plans to sue the city over its handling of his event, has not answered multiple attempts seeking comment. 

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