Jason Kessler, the organizer of the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been indicted on a count of felony perjury relating to an assault charge earlier this year.
Court records obtained by multiple news outlets show that on Monday, a Grand Jury in Albemarle County, Virginia, indicted Kessler, with an arrest warrant issued Tuesday.
The indictment stems from a sworn statement Kessler made to a magistrate judge in January, when he claimed he was forced to punch a man in the face in self defense. Video evidence later showed that statement was false.
The incident happened on January 22, in which he claimed he had been assaulted by a man while collecting signatures for a petition demanding the city’s vice-mayor be removed from office.
Surveillance footage subsequently showed that Kessler was the aggressor in the scuffle with the man, James Justin Taylor.
“I really took issue not so much with the substance of it, but the way he was going about it,” Taylor told The Daily Progress. “This sort of aggressive fear, hate manner that it was being conducted. And I called him out on it. And he hit me.”
“I said, paraphrasing, that ‘you’re kind of being an asshole,’” Taylor added. Kessler, however, claimed that Taylor assaulted him and “violently” shook his arm until video evidence showed a different story.
“I’ll admit that what I did was not legal,” Kessler told The Daily Progress in April, after entering his guilty plea for the misdemeanor assault. “I was having a bad day. I’ve never done anything like this before and it will never happen again.”
In April, Kessler pled guilty to misdemeanor assault, admitting to hitting Taylor, and received a 30-day suspended sentence and was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. Taylor was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Kessler faces up to 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.