Charlottesville car attack witness sues Alex Jones, othersMarch 13, 2018 5:18pm

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A former State Department official who became the target of harassment after posting a video showing the car attack during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville sued right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and others Tuesday.

Brennan Gilmore, who attended the August rally as a counterprotester, witnessed the attack that killed Heather Heyer and injured dozens more. He posted a video to Twitter, which went viral, and was interviewed by national media outlets. Soon after, Jones, his website Infowars and the other defendants started spreading conspiracy theories about him, which led to threats against Gilmore and his family, the complaint alleged.

"Supporters of the alt-right and the 'Unite the Right rally,' including the defendants, created a new identity for Mr. Gilmore — the organizer and orchestrator of (accused driver James) Fields' attack and a traitor to the United States," the lawsuit said.

The defendants' lies about Gilmore "quickly mobilized their army of followers to launch a campaign of harassment and threats" that continue to this day, the lawsuit said.

Gilmore suffered from hate mail and death threats, hacking attempts and in-person harassment, the lawsuit said. Gilmore and his parents' known addresses were posted online, prompting local law enforcement to patrol his parents' home.

The lawsuit, which seeks a jury trial and damages to compensate Gilmore as well as punitive damages, was filed in federal court in Charlottesville. Georgetown Law's Civil Rights Clinic is representing Gilmore, who said in an interview with The Associated Press that he "absolutely" would not consider settling the suit and that any monetary damages are a secondary goal.

"There's no amount of money that would overcome the motivation of this case," which is to set a legal precedent to prevent the same thing from happening again, Gilmore said.

Gilmore said the defendants have spread misinformation time and again after high-profile tragedies, citing the recent Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

Infowars recently suggested that survivors of the shooting that left 17 people dead were coached on their pleas for gun control. Jones, who owns the site, has also called the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School a hoax and said the Sept. 11 attacks were an inside job.

The AP requested comment from Jones and received an emailed link to an approximately hour-long YouTube video of him addressing the suit. In the video, which included an extended scene from one of the "Lord of the Rings" movies, Jones called his detractors "cowards," ''slaves," and "little fallen twisted people looking for power."

The lawsuit, which alleges defamation and intentional infliction of emotion distress, also names six other individuals as defendants. Among them is former Florida congressman Allen B. West, who the lawsuit alleges published an article on his website with the headline, "BOMBSHELL: New Evidence Suggests Charlottesville Was a Complete SET-UP."

West didn't immediately respond to an inquiry from AP sent through his website.

Gilmore is a Virginia native who worked for years as a foreign service officer, a post from which he is currently on long-term unpaid leave, according to the lawsuit. Last year, he served as chief of staff for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello.

Charlottesville became a target for white nationalists after its city council voted to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.

After several smaller rallies, hundreds of white nationalists and counter-protesters converged in downtown Charlottesville on Aug. 12. Fighting broke out before the event officially began, and the brawling went on for about an hour until an unlawful assembly was declared and the crowd was forced to disband.

Later, as counterdemonstrators were peacefully marching through downtown, the car barreled into the crowd. Heyer, 32, was killed.

Fields, the driver, faces charges including first-degree murder.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

DeAndre Harris, second from right,  enters the Charlottesville District Court ahead of his trial on Friday, March 16, 2018, in Charlottesville, Va.  Harris, who was severely beaten the day of a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville and then charged with misdemeanor assault in the same incident was found not guilty Friday. A Charlottesville judge acquitted Harris, saying it was clear he didn't intend to harm the leader of a Southern nationalist group who made a complaint against him. (Zack Wajsgras/The Daily Progress via AP)
Man beaten at white nationalist rally not guilty of assault
Haitians sue Trump administration over immigration policyHaitian immigrants are suing President Donald Trump and Homeland Security officials, alleging racism influenced a decision to end a program allowing them to live and work legally in the U.S. after disasters in their home country
Settlement resolves suit in handcuffed man's shooting deathA settlement has resolved a federal lawsuit against a Louisiana sheriff over a handcuffed man's shooting death, an attorney for the deceased man's family said Friday
FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2014, file photo, a view of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse in Washington. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Trump administration, claiming it is violating immigration laws and its own policies by detaining immigrants who have a solid case for seeking asylum in the United States. The ACLU said it was filing a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington claiming that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is detaining many asylum seekers for months while they await hearings before an immigration judge.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
ACLU sues government over detention of asylum seekers
This combination photo shows Bill Cosby leaving Montgomery County Courthouse after a hearing in his sexual assault case in Norristown, Pa., on Aug. 22, 2017, left, and model Janice Dickinson leaving Los Angeles Superior Court after a judge ruled her defamation lawsuit against Bill Cosby on March 29, 2016. Dickinson’s defamation lawsuit against Bill Cosby can move forward after the California Supreme Court refused an appeal from Cosby. The court said on its website Thursday that it was declining to review Cosby’s appeal, which had put the case on hold. Dickinson said in 2014 that Cosby drugged and raped her in Lake Tahoe in 1982, then sued him after he and his representatives said her claims were false. (AP Photo)
Janice Dickinson's lawsuit against Bill Cosby can proceed
FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2015, file photo, former University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey coach Shannon Miller speaks about the discrimination lawsuit she and two other female coaches have filed against the school, at the law offices of Fafinski Mark & Johnson in Eden Prairie, Minn. A federal jury, on Thursday, March 15, 2018, awarded Shannon Miller more than $744,000 for lost wages and benefits and $3 million for emotional distress. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP, File)
Jury awards $3.7M to former UMD women's hockey coach

Related Searches

Related Searches