A white supremacist avoided harsh sanctions Thursday by beginning to comply with long-outstanding discovery requests in a lawsuit against key organizers of the deadly Unite the Right rally.
Elliott Kline, aka Eli Mosley, an organizer of the 2017 rally and former leader of the now-defunct Identity Evropa, is one of more than a dozen defendants in a lawsuit filed by area residents nearly two years ago.
The lawsuit has moved at a snail’s pace since its initial filing, which attorneys for the plaintiffs have attributed to a lack of cooperation from the defendants. In particular, some defendants have been slow to comply with discovery requests, causing U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel C. Hoppe to threaten financial sanctions.
Last month, Kline was ordered to comply with discovery requests or face sanctions. During a telephonic hearing Thursday in Charlottesville’s federal court, attorneys for the plaintiffs said Kline complied with some of the discovery requests at his deposition the day prior but clarified there was still a “long way to go.”
“During the deposition, [Kline] made a number of representations that will require additional discovery inquiries,” said Michael Bloch, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
Kline’s phone had yet to be turned over to the third-party vendor for imaging, something the defendant said he planned to do Friday. In a telephonic hearing last month, Kline said the only device he had kept from the time of the UTR rally was an old cellphone, and added that he no longer had access to his social media accounts.
While in-roads have been made in Kline’s discovery requests, fellow defendant Matthew Heimbach — the former leader of the Traditionalist Worker Party — does not appear to have taken steps to meet his discovery requirements and has cited personal problems at a prior hearing.
Heimbach currently is embroiled in a complicated familial and legal drama that started after he allegedly was caught having sex with his wife’s stepmother. Heimbach spent some time in jail for assaulting his wife’s father, Matt Parrott, who reportedly caught the defendant engaging in coitus with his wife.
While Heimbach was in jail, his estranged wife lost his computer during a move, he said. She has signed an affidavit confirming that claim.
In the last month, Heimbach, who is representing himself, has filed several motions, none of which appears to meet his discovery requirements.
Among the filings are a tardy request for dismissal and a request not to be sanctioned due to his stretched financial means. Heimbach outstanding discovery requirements were not discussed at Thursday’s hearing.
Another defendant, neo-Nazi and University of Virginia graduate Richard Spencer, argued in a filing this month that sanctions imposed on Kline or Heimbach would adversely affect him.
Spencer led various torch-lit rallies before and after the UTR rally but has not faced any criminal charges.
The plaintiffs have asked the court to find that Kline and Heimbach entered into an agreement with one or more co-conspirators to commit racially motivated violence. Spencer says this argument is too broad and implicates him.
Hoppe has not yet ruled on any of Heimbach or Spencer’s recent motions.
A third discovery deadline for Kline is set for Wednesday.