April 04, 2020
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Judge considering if NH white nationalist poses flight risk

Courtesy of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail via AP
Courtesy of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail via AP
This undated photo provided by the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail shows Christopher Cantwell.

CONCORD, New Hampshire — A white nationalist from New Hampshire will remain in jail pending a federal judge’s decision on whether he poses a flight risk or a danger to the community.

Christopher Cantwell, who rose to prominence in 2017 after a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, pleaded not guilty in January to federal charges that he threatened to rape the wife of an unidentified man if the person did not provide him with information about someone else.

Cantwell’s trial was set to begin March 3 but has since been postponed. A new date has not been set.

After hearing from both sides Tuesday, Judge Andrea Johnstone said she will consider whether Cantwell could be released ahead of trial. It was unclear when she will rule.

Prosecutors have argued Cantwell should remain in jail because of his history of “contempt for bail conditions,” his use of secure communication tools and his violent history and his drug use. During the search of his home and car, they found 17 weapons.

Prosecutors pointed to a Vice News documentary about the Charlottesville rally that featured Cantwell talking about violence and showing off his arsenal and pointed to a time when he posted about bringing a gun to a showing of “Joker.”

“He makes decisions that are unsafe and dangerous,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna Krasinski told the court.

Cantwell’s attorney, Eric Wolpin, countered that the court could impose restrictions on him if he were released, including drug and alcohol counseling, prohibiting him from using social media or from possessing firearms.

Wolpin also said Cantwell’s drug use was a thing of the past. He also questioned the merits of the charges in the case, noting Cantwell was only responding after he was threatened and harassed by another racist group.

Cantwell pleaded guilty in 2018 to assault after he was accused of using pepper spray against two counterprotesters during the Charlottesville rally in 2017.

 


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