The leader of a group of California-based white supremacists and one of his members pleaded guilty Friday to charges connected with the deadly violence at the Charlottesville, Va., “Unite the Right” rally two years ago.
Benjamin Drake Daley, a founder of the white supremacist Rise Above Movement, and member Michael Miselis pleaded guilty inside a Charlottesville courtroom to a single federal charge of conspiracy to riot. Each man faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced in July, the Associated Press reports.
Two other RAM members — Cole White and Thomas Gillen — previously pleaded guilty to the same charge, and all four men admitted punching and kicking demonstrators who showed up in Charlottesville in August 2017 to rally against white supremacists and other “alt-right” adherents.
The men, as part of their guilty pleas, also admitted their attacks on the counter-protesters were not done in self-defense, AP reports
According to the Los Angeles Times, RAM is a “relatively small militant white power group that casts itself as an alt-right fight club.” Members practice street-fighting moves to use against their ideological enemies.
“These avowed white supremacists traveled to Charlottesville to incite and commit acts of violence,” Thomas Cullen, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, said in a statement, the Times reports. “Although the First Amendment protects an organization’s right to express abhorrent political views, it does not authorize senseless violence in furtherance of a political agenda.”