- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Jason Kessler, the white nationalist who organized the infamous “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, faces the possibility of up to 10 years in prison after being charged Tuesday with a single count of felony perjury.

A grand jury in surrounding Albemarle County returned a single-count indictment charging Mr. Kessler, 34, in connection with a sworn statement he made seven months before his “Unite the Right” rally this summer descended into chaos that ultimately resulted in the death of a counterprotester and two police officers.

The charge involves a Jan. 22 altercation that unfolded in downtown Charlottesville as Mr. Kessler petitioned to remove politician Wes Bellamy from the city council. Mr. Kessler claimed in a subsequent criminal complaint that he was assaulted while gathering signatures, but investigators ultimately found surveillance footage that showed him striking his supposed assailant, James Justin Taylor.

“The events of this alleged assault are entirely captured on a camera system mounted on a business adjacent to the event,” prosecutors said in a previous court filing, adding that “the events described by the complaining witness [Mr. Kessler] in his criminal complaint did not happen,” the local NBC News affiliate reported.

A judge eventually dismissed the case against Mr. Taylor and instead charged Mr. Kessler with misdemeanor assault. He pleaded guilty in April and was sentenced the following month to 50 hours of community service.

A grand jury convened in Albemarle County has since determined that Mr. Kessler may have committed perjury by lying on the sworn statement he gave to a magistrate in January and returned a one-count felony indictment Tuesday.

Mr. Kessler appeared in Albemarle County Circuit Court early Wednesday in connection with the perjury case and was released on bond, Newsradio WINA reported afterwards. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500 if convicted.

Mr. Kessler did not immediately return an email seeking comment Wednesday.

A local blogger and pro-white activist, Mr. Kessler achieved national notoriety in August when his “Unite the Right” rally was canceled after attendees including white supremacists and neo-Nazis clashed with counterprotesters in downtown Charlottesville. Two police officers died in a helicopter crash while monitoring the chaos, and a woman protesting white supremacists was killed when a motorist drove his car into a crowd of demonstrators, according to law enforcement.

Ohio resident James Alex Fields Jr., 20, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of the demonstrator, 32-year-old paralegal Heather Heyer.

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