As if it wasn’t bad enough having to answer for the deaths and injuries that occurred at August’s “Unite the Right” rally, one of the organizers of the event, Jason Kessler, is also now facing a perjury charge for lying on a criminal complaint that he filed in January of this year.
On Tuesday, NBC29, a local Virginia news outlet, released a report about the latest charge against Kessler.
In January, Kessler gave a sworn statement to the magistrate at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail, claiming that James Justin Taylor assaulted him at Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. At the time, Kessler was gathering signatures to have Charlottesville City Councilor Wes Bellamy removed from office.
Kessler originally described the incident as follows:
‘[Taylor] and his buddy came over, they scribbled on my petition and vandalized it. James didn’t want to have a conversation with me, he yelled you’re a….and he called me a name. I felt threatened and I hit him to get him away from me.’
Taylor told a different story, saying in response to the assault charge that Kessler punched him when he refused to sign the petition.
‘He handed me his clipboard so I could read it and I handed it back to him. I said what I said to him and he didn’t like it.’
Taylor and Kessler both agreed that curse words were exchanged before Kessler punched Taylor in the face. They also agreed that Taylor was the one to approach Kessler first.
However, shortly after Kessler claimed that Taylor assaulted him, video evidence was released that proved Kessler was lying about everything else that occurred.
A court document filed by Taylor’s lawyer said about Kessler’s complaint:
‘The events of this alleged assault are entirely captured on a camera system mounted on a business adjacent to the event…the events described by the complaining witness [Kessler] in his criminal complaint did not happen.’
Legal analyst Lloyd Snook also said about the case:
‘This is an unusual case where you had a fairly clear statement that seems to be fairly clearly refuted by video evidence that seems kind of hard to argue with. So it’s rare that you get a case that’s so directly contradicted by that kind of clear evidence.’
In response to the evidence clearly contradicting Kessler, a judge dismissed the assault case against Taylor.
In April, Kessler pleaded guilty to the assault charge and was sentenced to 50 hours of community service.
The perjury charge is a class 5 felony and carries a possible sentence of between one and ten years in prison and up to a $2,500 fine.
Watch a report about Kessler’s original guilty plea in the video below, courtesy of CBS19 News.
Featured image is a screenshot from the video.