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4 White Supremacists Charged In Deadly 2017 Charlottesville Rally

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Four California men who belong to a white supremacist group have been arrested and charged with rioting at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year. They could face 10 years in prison. From member station WVTF, Sandy Hausman reports.

SANDY HAUSMAN, BYLINE: On the night before a violent white supremacist rally in August of 2017, several hundred men marched across the University of Virginia campus with torches.

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UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) You will not replace us.

HAUSMAN: The next day, four of them allegedly punched, kicked and head-butted several people, including an African-American man, two women and a clergyman. U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen says the accused belong to a group called the Rise Above Movement.

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THOMAS CULLEN: This is a group that essentially subscribes to anti-Semitic, racist ideology and then organizes trains and deploys to various political rallies to engage in acts of violence against folks who are taking a contrary point of view.

HAUSMAN: The same men are accused of violent behavior at three other rallies in California. And Cullen says he has plenty of electronic evidence against them, including social media posts and video.

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CULLEN: Surveillance video, phone video, journalist video from August 11 on August 12 - we have more digital electronic evidence in video form than investigators did in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing.

HAUSMAN: The U.S. attorney said there was strong support from Washington for his 13-month investigation.

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CULLEN: There is a clear directive from on high that these cases need to be taken very seriously.

HAUSMAN: And he suggested this week's arrests might not be the last.

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CULLEN: The FBI is hard at work. The Virginia State Police is hard at work. I have a prosecutor in my office who literally has done nothing else, since August 12 of 2017, than work on these cases. We're not finished. We're going to follow every lead until we're satisfied that we've done all we can do with respect to what happened in Charlottesville.

HAUSMAN: Specific charges against the four men include rioting and conspiracy to riot, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years behind bars. Benjamin Daley, Thomas Gillen, Michael Miselis and Cole White may be arraigned in Charlottesville next week. And the U.S. attorney said the case could go to court by year's end.

For NPR News, I'm Sandy Hausman in Charlottesville.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOSSK'S "THE REVERIE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.