Jurors in Charlottesville, Virginia, are hearing closing arguments today in a civil trial that seeks to hold white supremacists accountable for organizing the deadly “Unite the Right” rally there in 2017, and conspiring to commit racially motivated violence. Two of the white supremacists have been defending themselves in the courtroom: Richard Spencer and Christopher Cantwell. They took the stand Tuesday, and tried unsuccessfully to have the judge dismiss the case for lack of evidence, even as they used racial slurs during the trial. Jurors are expected to begin deliberations Friday. Both Spencer and Cantwell have “failed utterly to take responsibility for the roles they played,” says Slate legal correspondent Dahlia Lithwick, who lived in Charlottesville during the 2017 rally and is reporting on the trial, which is not being broadcast. She also discusses the homicide trial of white teenage gunman Kyle Rittenhouse and the broad use of the “self defense” argument by white supremacists on trial.
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