As former Director of the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) at the U.S. Department of Justice and now as an official in its successor unit, Eli Rosenbaum has spent more than three decades identifying, denaturalizing, and deporting World War II Nazi war criminals—and exposing the hidden Nazi pasts of public figures such as former NASA rocket engineer Arthur Rudolph.
As two members of the team behind Sines v. Kessler, leading litigator Karen Dunn and Integrity First for America Executive Director Amy Spitalnick are currently suing white nationalist Richard Spencer and other neo-Nazis in U.S. federal court. Their lawsuit is seeking to bankrupt and dismantle the hate groups that marched in Charlottesville, Virginia at the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally.
Join the Museum, ADL NY/NJ, and Integrity First for America for this program exploring the successes, challenges, and consequences of Nazi-hunting past and present. The discussion with Rosenbaum, Dunn, and Spitalnick is moderated by CNN Senior Political Analyst John Avlon.
Watch the program below.
This program’s original recording transcript is below. This transcription was created automatically during a live program so may contain inaccurate transcriptions of some words.
Ari Goldstein: I'm Ari Goldstein Senior Public programs producer at the Museum of Jewish heritage, a living memorial to the Holocaust and it's a pleasure to welcome you to today's very timely program on Nazi.
00:00:50.400 --> 00:00:58.380
Ari Goldstein: past and present before we introduce our guests today i'll turn things over to our partners at the abl for some words of welcome.
00:00:59.520 --> 00:01:08.040
Suzie Davidowitz: Thank you very good afternoon, my name is susie davidowitz and I am pleased to serve as a board member of adl New York New Jersey.
00:01:08.550 --> 00:01:20.310
Suzie Davidowitz: I am personally deeply committed to the concept of never again and have devoted my volunteer energy to doing all that I can to ensure this is the case.
00:01:20.790 --> 00:01:36.780
Suzie Davidowitz: Bringing Nazis and neo Nazis to justice is an incredibly important way to live that credo, which is why i'm so pleased to welcome all of you, on behalf of the anti defamation league adl to today's special program on Nazi hunting.
00:01:37.980 --> 00:01:47.430
Suzie Davidowitz: This is an issue that is woven into the DNA of adl, beginning with the organization's education of Americans in the 1930s.
00:01:47.880 --> 00:01:57.120
Suzie Davidowitz: about the dangerous at home grown Nazi movements in America pose to democracy, especially the anti Semitic German American fund.
00:01:57.990 --> 00:02:13.920
Suzie Davidowitz: During World War Two adl launched a massive research operation undercover to find Nazi supporters in hate groups in the US, making its findings available to government agencies in Washington DC and to the press.
00:02:14.490 --> 00:02:25.830
Suzie Davidowitz: Increasingly, the FBI and the media turn to atl for his expertise which launched an important relationship with law enforcement that continues to this day.
00:02:27.000 --> 00:02:36.450
Suzie Davidowitz: All of this work, eventually evolved into adl Center on extremism which monitors extremism across the ideological spectrum.
00:02:37.380 --> 00:02:51.780
Suzie Davidowitz: adl staff of investigators analysts researchers and technical experts strategically monitors exposes and disrupts extremists threats on the Internet and on the ground.
00:02:52.560 --> 00:03:00.240
Suzie Davidowitz: It is considered to be the foremost authority on extremism, terrorism and hate both foreign and domestic.
00:03:00.960 --> 00:03:20.580
Suzie Davidowitz: Just Google adl and Center on extremism to learn more and to view the adl interactive heat map a first of its kind interactive and customizable map detailing hate extremism anti Semitic incidences by state and nationwide.
00:03:22.050 --> 00:03:32.580
Suzie Davidowitz: apropos of today's topic a critical part of the center's work is tracking and exposing whites to premise, for example in March of this year.
00:03:33.060 --> 00:03:46.290
Suzie Davidowitz: The FBI race arrested whites to premise Paul and Miller on three federal weapons charges adl Center on extremism had identified him five months earlier.
00:03:46.950 --> 00:04:04.800
Suzie Davidowitz: As a volatiles white supremacist was using increasingly radical and violent rhetoric, as well as displaying weapons and real life extremists related activities adl Center on extremism reported him to federal law enforcement authorities in New Jersey.
00:04:05.970 --> 00:04:25.140
Suzie Davidowitz: This is why today's program is so important to atl We are extremely grateful to the Museum of Jewish heritage to integrity, first for America and to eli rosenbaum and the Department of Justice for making it possible, thank you all so much for tuning in.
00:04:26.760 --> 00:04:29.580
Ari Goldstein: Thank you susie and it's all of our honor at the museum to.
00:04:30.030 --> 00:04:34.800
Ari Goldstein: Count adl is our co presenter today our other Co presenter is integrity, first for America.
00:04:35.040 --> 00:04:39.810
Ari Goldstein: As soon as you mentioned, integrity, first for America is leading the charge in signs the Kessler.
00:04:40.020 --> 00:04:51.180
Ari Goldstein: The federal lawsuit that seeking to bankrupt and dismantle the hate groups that marched in charlottesville Virginia, the deadly 2017 tonight the right rally the trial is set to begin it in less than 40 days.
00:04:51.780 --> 00:05:08.130
Ari Goldstein: So this is an urgent and discussion Karen done and amy's batali joining us on today's panel are two members of the team behind signs the Kessler Karen as leading litigator and amy as Executive Director of integrity, first for America welcome Karen.
00:05:10.050 --> 00:05:18.900
Ari Goldstein: eli rosenbaum is the former director of the office of special investigations at the US Department of Justice and is now a senior official and its successor unit.
00:05:19.260 --> 00:05:29.970
Ari Goldstein: He spent more than three decades identifying team naturalising and deporting World War Two Nazi war criminals and exposing the hidden Nazi past of public figures.
00:05:31.320 --> 00:05:36.000
Ari Goldstein: moderating today's discussion is john avlon senior political analyst at CNN.
00:05:36.480 --> 00:05:46.530
Ari Goldstein: Among other projects john is the creator and host of reality check extremist beat a new CNN series on the roots of q&a which will premiere tonight on CNN COM.
00:05:47.220 --> 00:05:57.030
Ari Goldstein: please feel free to share questions for our panelists as to get into the discussion will take as many as we can, towards the end of the hour, without further ado, a warm welcome to all of you feel free to get started.
00:05:59.010 --> 00:06:03.420
John Avlon: Thank you are a and i'm really looking forward to this conversation.
00:06:04.830 --> 00:06:08.760
John Avlon: Nazi hunting is a term which captures people's attention.
00:06:09.960 --> 00:06:17.580
John Avlon: But it is not a simply a past preoccupation is ongoing lawsuits involving the United the right rally show.
00:06:18.480 --> 00:06:33.690
John Avlon: But eli I want to begin with you because you are distinguished as in some cases, America is preeminent Nazi hunter within the Department of Justice tell us what that means in real terms, what does it mean to be a Nazi hundred working for the DOJ.
00:06:40.470 --> 00:06:41.760
John Avlon: Well, I think you've gotta unmute.
00:06:49.050 --> 00:07:02.040
Eli Rosenbaum: Forgive me, sorry there's not a lot of competition for that title of course there, but there are a few of us still working on the Nazi cases and we we brought one and tried it in memphis just last year and we deported the.
00:07:03.150 --> 00:07:13.290
Eli Rosenbaum: The individual Friedrich called burger just this year, obviously, to very late date we don't have criminal jurisdiction in the World War Two Nazi cases.
00:07:14.070 --> 00:07:25.860
Eli Rosenbaum: that's not permitted under the US Constitution, so what we were left with when our program was belatedly launched at DOJ in 1979 was a civil jurisdiction for the most part.
00:07:26.850 --> 00:07:37.500
Eli Rosenbaum: The naturalization that is civil a revocation of naturalized us citizenship trying the case in article three federal district court and then all.
00:07:38.430 --> 00:07:54.570
Eli Rosenbaum: follow on deportation proceedings in immigration court what we today tend to call removal proceedings if a foreign government requested extradition which hardly has ever happened then that's an expedited process that kind of sounds in criminal law.
00:07:55.650 --> 00:08:05.490
Eli Rosenbaum: And we would handle those as well with colleagues elsewhere in the Justice Department so i'm not a big fan of the expression Nazi hunting, it makes it seem like.
00:08:05.820 --> 00:08:14.340
Eli Rosenbaum: something other than it is what it is, is a professional and very challenging law enforcement work but i've made my peace with it i've heard it often enough.
00:08:15.600 --> 00:08:27.900
John Avlon: Well, I think the important point that provides continuity between you and Karen and amy is that justice and accountability in America is achieved through the law and Karen.
00:08:28.620 --> 00:08:44.430
John Avlon: You have a very different career trajectory though you have done time in the federal government, so to speak, um but tell us about the case that you and amy are bringing with regards to the united the right rally, which is scheduled to go to trial and next month.
00:08:45.750 --> 00:08:52.140
Karen Dunn: so well, first of all thank you for having me and it's true my my roots are, as a lawyer for the government.
00:08:52.890 --> 00:09:00.810
Karen Dunn: And as a federal prosecutor, so this is the case that i've done in private practice that most resembles the cases I used to bring as a prosecutor.
00:09:01.740 --> 00:09:14.640
Karen Dunn: We have brought on behalf of 10 plaintiffs who were injured in the events of August 11 and 12th 2017 a case under the Ku Klux Klan act for conspiracy to commit.
00:09:15.030 --> 00:09:27.000
Karen Dunn: racially motivated violence in charlottesville, and so we are as it's always kind of chilling when you hear how many days you are from trial, but we are fewer than 40 days from trial.
00:09:27.450 --> 00:09:36.420
Karen Dunn: starts October 25 our defendants in this case are the leaders of the white supremacist and neo Nazi movement in the country today.
00:09:36.870 --> 00:09:42.480
Karen Dunn: Some familiar names Richard Spencer Matthew high inbox Jason Kessler and others.
00:09:43.020 --> 00:09:54.420
Karen Dunn: Who organized and executed events that were violent and resulted in death and grievous injury, including two are very Blackberry plaintiffs, and so I I.
00:09:55.170 --> 00:10:06.480
Karen Dunn: Our work is very different than what eli does so wonderfully, but I think there are really common threads and mission to well we and here are doing.
00:10:07.440 --> 00:10:09.810
John Avlon: And amy I understand you had a.
00:10:11.340 --> 00:10:18.390
John Avlon: ruling just last night, which was pretty significant in terms of the trajectory of the case tell us about that.
00:10:19.140 --> 00:10:19.470
00:10:20.850 --> 00:10:32.310
Amy Spitalnick: And again, thank you to all of you for being here and for having us, and this is a particular honor for me to get to be a part of this discussion because i'm the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, and so this is very meaning to be with eli.
00:10:32.760 --> 00:10:38.340
Amy Spitalnick: meaningful to be with eli and and, of course, the museum, which has been an incredible partner in this work and and.
00:10:38.670 --> 00:10:47.430
Amy Spitalnick: Telling the story of what is actually happening, which is really what this case is about I think it's about making clear the facts of that horrific weekend for years ago.
00:10:47.790 --> 00:10:57.990
Amy Spitalnick: The violent ideology that underpins how these groups operate and these leaders operate and, of course, winning justice and accountability at a time when it has been so sorely lacking.
00:10:58.560 --> 00:11:08.100
Amy Spitalnick: And to that point, even before we get to trial Karen and our team have entire list and holding the defendants accountable to their obligations and just last night.
00:11:08.550 --> 00:11:22.410
Amy Spitalnick: We want really I think significant stunning evidentiary sanctions against a key neo Nazi defendant Robert asthma door Ray who some of you might know because he was a prolific writer for the neo Nazi site, the daily stormer.
00:11:22.980 --> 00:11:43.380
Amy Spitalnick: And tortuously violently participated and helped organize the unite the right violence, including with a very notorious anti Semitic banner that I won't repeat the words that they carried here, but you can certainly read in our complaint and what these evidentiary sanctions.
00:11:44.550 --> 00:11:56.880
Amy Spitalnick: Did is effectively establish as fact, in this case that re entered into an agreement with co conspirators to engage in racially motivated violence in charlottesville that weekend for years ago.
00:11:57.480 --> 00:12:05.850
Amy Spitalnick: And a number of other facts that are really at the heart of our lawsuit so establishing these facts, even before we get to trial is crucial.
00:12:06.750 --> 00:12:19.110
Amy Spitalnick: For a number of reasons, and I think it also is really a perfect example of the impact this case has had the success, this case has had even before we get to travel, when we go to trial, we have the potential to win large judgments.
00:12:19.260 --> 00:12:26.580
Amy Spitalnick: against these defendants and can effectively bankrupt disrupt and dismantle that these individuals and these organizations.
00:12:27.000 --> 00:12:32.790
Amy Spitalnick: And that is important for the accountability that they need to face it's important for the deterrent effect that creates for others.
00:12:33.510 --> 00:12:43.890
Amy Spitalnick: But even before trial we've had defendants, not just face major evidentiary sanctions like Robert Ray or Elliot Klein, who have had similar sanctions against him.
00:12:44.550 --> 00:12:52.500
Amy Spitalnick: we've also had major financial penalties five figure sanctions and, in fact, Richard Spencer, perhaps one of our most notorious defendants.
00:12:52.920 --> 00:13:01.770
Amy Spitalnick: has called this case quote financially crippling, and so this shows us that if you are going to flout court orders if you're not going to follow the rule of law.
00:13:02.460 --> 00:13:12.270
Amy Spitalnick: You will actually face consequences, even before we get to trial, and I think it's been particularly heartening to watch our legal team, make sure that these defendants live up to their obligations.
00:13:12.630 --> 00:13:18.930
Amy Spitalnick: And that, if they don't they face consequences like this, which will have an enormous impact when trial starts just next month.
00:13:20.340 --> 00:13:23.910
John Avlon: What a concept um I, I must say that.
00:13:25.170 --> 00:13:26.280
John Avlon: it's it's.
00:13:27.510 --> 00:13:38.340
John Avlon: interesting to see judges in force these mechanisms, even before trial because I think that often does not happen in cases.
00:13:39.330 --> 00:13:56.130
John Avlon: Like pull back for a second tell us how the US Government getting involved in this line of work, which I know you reluctantly, I accept is called Nazi hunting but, but what what what was the entry point and the the the legal innovations that were put forth in the early days.
00:13:57.030 --> 00:14:08.160
Eli Rosenbaum: Well, in the in the first few decades after World War Two, the Justice Department and it's been immigration and naturalization service component.
00:14:08.760 --> 00:14:21.720
Eli Rosenbaum: tried to bring Nazi cases and they routinely failed, there were a couple of victories and that's all and they failed because these cases are extraordinarily challenging and imagine trying to prove.
00:14:23.370 --> 00:14:38.880
Eli Rosenbaum: Facts the crimes that took place decades earlier far away from the United States crimes that were committed in a manner intended to physically eliminate those people who might have been inclined would have been inclined, I think, to to cooperate with a government investigation.
00:14:40.350 --> 00:14:43.830
Eli Rosenbaum: Finally, and this is sort of a typical Washington story right.
00:14:44.970 --> 00:14:57.000
Eli Rosenbaum: The New York Times and other newspapers in the 70s started focusing on fact they were appeared to be Nazi criminals, not just in Germany, not just in Austria in South America, but even in the United States.
00:14:57.690 --> 00:15:07.410
Eli Rosenbaum: That caught the attention of Congress, especially then congresswoman Elizabeth holtzman she and others precipitated hearings hearings were covered by the media.
00:15:08.010 --> 00:15:17.220
Eli Rosenbaum: Finally, there was a critical mass of outrage in the country and the Carter administration was pressured to set up a special unit.
00:15:18.000 --> 00:15:29.970
Eli Rosenbaum: In the criminal division at the OJ and that's what they did, and I think the approach that we've taken is of a piece with the famous Justice Department strategy.
00:15:30.930 --> 00:15:37.980
Eli Rosenbaum: In the Al Capone case right, I mean he was a major mobster in Chicago killed lots of people lots of people were killed on his orders.
00:15:38.520 --> 00:15:46.500
Eli Rosenbaum: DOJ could never prove it in the end, what they were able to bring was a tax fraud case and we won that long before I was born and.
00:15:46.920 --> 00:15:52.800
Eli Rosenbaum: And jailed him so you take what authorities, you have that's what we did in the Nazi cases right we took.
00:15:53.280 --> 00:16:07.140
Eli Rosenbaum: Civil the naturalization civil deportation and, I dare say that integrity first is doing same thing right they they have found a good authorities in the law that the Ku Klux Klan act hardly ever use.
00:16:08.100 --> 00:16:18.150
Eli Rosenbaum: But it may work and and so you use what you can to to pursue the rule of law and some measure of justice.
00:16:18.570 --> 00:16:32.760
John Avlon: i'm so glad you mentioned that because i'm fascinated by the fact Karen that your team is using the 1871 KKK i'm just finishing, a book on Lincoln and the fight for peace and so i've been.
00:16:32.790 --> 00:16:34.770
John Avlon: reading and writing a lot about.
00:16:34.770 --> 00:16:35.100
00:16:36.390 --> 00:16:42.480
John Avlon: How does it apply and how did you discover that it was the best precedent, the best remedy to draw upon.
00:16:43.950 --> 00:16:50.010
Karen Dunn: yeah so the KKK act as you say, was the reconstruction era statute.
00:16:51.360 --> 00:17:00.450
Karen Dunn: designed to protect blacks in the south really at the time that it was passed and I, we can never talk about this without.
00:17:01.890 --> 00:17:10.620
Karen Dunn: Expressing some incredible regret that in the year 21, this is the most clickable statute and that it's such a good fit.
00:17:11.100 --> 00:17:25.080
Karen Dunn: For our case and essentially this is shorthand but it prohibits conspiracy to do racially motivated violence or conspiracies to deprive other people of their civil rights, which is what happened in charlottesville.
00:17:25.650 --> 00:17:40.020
Karen Dunn: And so the sad fact is, is it does appear to be more or less a good fit for the fact of our case, which was premeditated planned acts of.
00:17:40.530 --> 00:18:00.540
Karen Dunn: That you know reasonably foresee a reasonably foreseeable violence would occur and motivated by racial animus and under the law hatred of juicing is included in the concept of legally of racial animus and so you know if you're looking around, for you know.
00:18:01.680 --> 00:18:08.400
Karen Dunn: Under what statute is this conduct conduct for which people can be held civilly liable, this is.
00:18:08.760 --> 00:18:17.520
Karen Dunn: This is a statute The other reason it's very useful here is because it creates a private right of action for individuals, so you don't have to be the government.
00:18:17.820 --> 00:18:25.530
Karen Dunn: To bring a case under the KKK at you can be the people who were injured in charlottesville that weekend and so that is one reason that this is.
00:18:25.800 --> 00:18:31.530
Karen Dunn: Along with other civil rights statutes that create these rights it's sort of a piece of other statutes.
00:18:32.070 --> 00:18:50.670
Karen Dunn: That you know our our kind of on the rise, actually in legal cases which is sad to say, but but helpful and then we've also brought some claims that are really just torque claims State law to work claims that you know for intentional infliction of emotional distress and other injury.
00:18:51.870 --> 00:18:55.140
John Avlon: amy I understand this case also draws upon.
00:18:56.340 --> 00:18:58.680
John Avlon: precedent set in the Nuremberg trials so.
00:18:59.730 --> 00:19:00.420
John Avlon: Explain.
00:19:01.920 --> 00:19:17.610
Amy Spitalnick: Well, I think thematically it certainly draws from the the point of the Nuremberg trials which, and in fact just a couple months ago Karen and I, and one of our colleagues got to do an event with project Nuremberg, where they honored this case because.
00:19:18.750 --> 00:19:22.380
Amy Spitalnick: It represents the spirit of the Nuremberg trials, and so I think.
00:19:23.820 --> 00:19:38.430
Amy Spitalnick: While i'm not sure that there is a formal connection in that way, I think that, in terms of the theme in terms of the spirit of what the Nuremberg trials were about this case squarely fits in.
00:19:39.240 --> 00:19:50.550
Amy Spitalnick: The importance of seeking accountability and justice, even after after the fact, many cases it has been four years since charlottesville it has been a long road towards accountability.
00:19:51.570 --> 00:19:59.040
Amy Spitalnick: For years, in which we saw so little accountability, not just as it relates to charlottesville but certainly the broader cycle of extremism.
00:19:59.760 --> 00:20:09.960
Amy Spitalnick: And I think it's important to be clear about that in that accountability, it might be hard, it might be hard fought It certainly has been in this case.
00:20:10.320 --> 00:20:22.890
Amy Spitalnick: But it's so crucial that it happens when it finally happens, not just because those responsible deserve to be brought to justice, even if it's years after the fact, which i'm sure is a theme and eli has work as well.
00:20:23.820 --> 00:20:30.660
Amy Spitalnick: But it is also important because it's that accountability that then serves as a deterrent to others who are looking on and seeing.
00:20:30.990 --> 00:20:40.590
Amy Spitalnick: That there will actually be very real consequences for this sort of violence and this sort of extremism and we're seeing that in this case we're seeing how some have said.
00:20:40.890 --> 00:20:46.860
Amy Spitalnick: They aren't they weren't going to return to charlottesville in 2018 for another event because they didn't want to be sued again.
00:20:47.700 --> 00:20:52.770
Amy Spitalnick: Some defendants, have said they can't open a new build air go about their business because of this lawsuit.
00:20:53.370 --> 00:20:59.160
Amy Spitalnick: And we're seeing that same sort of determine effect among some of their supporters who are recognizing the consequences.
00:20:59.790 --> 00:21:18.000
Amy Spitalnick: And so there is really I think a direct line that runs from the Nuremberg trials and runs, of course, with the work that eli is doing to this case because at the core it's the very same concept of accountability and justice, no matter how hard fought and how long it takes.
00:21:19.590 --> 00:21:22.050
John Avlon: yeah and I think the.
00:21:23.280 --> 00:21:25.140
John Avlon: Nuremberg Trial and I, you know.
00:21:25.350 --> 00:21:28.230
John Avlon: Particularly recommend people read or watch.
00:21:28.530 --> 00:21:35.640
John Avlon: Justice jackson's opening statement I think that's something that should be more widely taught in America schools.
00:21:35.670 --> 00:21:37.230
Eli Rosenbaum: And said it's done, could I could I.
00:21:38.730 --> 00:21:54.540
Eli Rosenbaum: echo what amy said I see another another link right the Nuremberg Trial which which mesmerized world in 1945 46 and, by the way the 75th anniversary of the judgment of the Tribunal is eight days from now on.
00:21:54.540 --> 00:21:59.610
Eli Rosenbaum: October one so it's timely that we're we're discussing it now that trial.
00:22:00.810 --> 00:22:22.830
Eli Rosenbaum: Educated the world in many respects, including showing how hate speech Nazi speech and the dissemination of hatred using especially using new technologies in hitler's case radio and also aviation, which enabled him to go all over the country and have these huge rallies.
00:22:24.000 --> 00:22:35.820
Eli Rosenbaum: leads directly to violence and that of course the harnessing of of hate hate ideology white supremacy and neo Nazi ISM harnessing of that.
00:22:36.870 --> 00:22:41.340
Eli Rosenbaum: Is what helped lead to the violence that shocked us all in charlottesville.
00:22:44.370 --> 00:22:46.680
John Avlon: I want to actually stay with you eli because.
00:22:48.510 --> 00:22:56.460
John Avlon: As someone who's devoted their life to where you know deporting denationalising Nazis and sees that cohort.
00:22:57.600 --> 00:23:01.680
John Avlon: Dwindling you know by by by nature time.
00:23:03.510 --> 00:23:06.330
John Avlon: How does it, how do you understand.
00:23:07.710 --> 00:23:16.920
John Avlon: The persistence of Nazi ISM even, indeed, that the rise of it again in our in our society, I mean it.
00:23:17.490 --> 00:23:31.770
John Avlon: someone's devoted their life to this, how do you make sense of that persistence of this particular strain of eight when it should have lost all legitimacy in the minds of every human being based on what we know.
00:23:32.850 --> 00:23:39.090
Eli Rosenbaum: I think, frankly, when when I was much younger, including when I was a young prosecutor, it had lost almost.
00:23:39.570 --> 00:23:48.780
Eli Rosenbaum: All of its legitimacy, they were still pockets of it, I remember once having to make a trip inside the headquarters of the American Nazi party which.
00:23:49.290 --> 00:23:59.190
Eli Rosenbaum: outrageously was located right outside of Washington in arlington Virginia almost a stone's throw from from arlington national cemetery where so many heroes are buried.
00:24:00.420 --> 00:24:08.220
Eli Rosenbaum: But I think the number of factors are a number of factors that have contributed to its revival, one is certainly the Internet.
00:24:09.420 --> 00:24:15.660
Eli Rosenbaum: Technology that the American Nazi party could not have have ramped up they went out of business because they couldn't.
00:24:15.930 --> 00:24:28.770
Eli Rosenbaum: afford to pay the rent on their building or the printing of their hate filled publications now you don't need any money for that just need a computer and an Internet account, and you can reach millions upon millions of people.
00:24:29.310 --> 00:24:37.680
Eli Rosenbaum: I tend to think that in the United States, the other contributing main contributing factor is the passing of the so called greatest generation.
00:24:39.240 --> 00:24:45.180
Eli Rosenbaum: Men and women who who saved the world as President Clinton said it at Normandy years ago.
00:24:46.320 --> 00:24:47.400
Eli Rosenbaum: In World War Two.
00:24:48.630 --> 00:25:10.020
Eli Rosenbaum: My dad was combat veteran of World War Two, and I think back then, in the 60s 70s 80s any person who would have dare to voice support for Nazis in the United States would have been taken to the woodshed by his dad who would explain what he fought for, but those men are gone.
00:25:11.280 --> 00:25:15.360
John Avlon: Karen in the case to date, how to use understand.
00:25:17.190 --> 00:25:19.590
John Avlon: It can't just be historical ignorance.
00:25:20.820 --> 00:25:34.590
John Avlon: That accounts for the recent rise in Nazi ISM and white supremacy with Nazi iconography I mean, how do you understand why we're seeing this now.
00:25:36.390 --> 00:25:39.600
Karen Dunn: Well, so, first of all, I think I should have talked to eli year ago.
00:25:41.250 --> 00:25:49.440
Karen Dunn: Because there is a lot of commonality and what he's saying and what we have seen in this case I I do think the accessibility.
00:25:50.280 --> 00:26:02.460
Karen Dunn: to plan and coordinate with other people cannot be understated or cannot be overstated, so the events in charlottesville were planned substantially on a on a platform called discord.
00:26:03.120 --> 00:26:14.370
Karen Dunn: which was not invented for this purpose it's primarily used by gamers to talk to one another but it's an invitation only chat platform, and so you know much of.
00:26:15.450 --> 00:26:29.070
Karen Dunn: The the heat and the hate hate filled communications and the planning happened on on the discord platform, not in person, and so you know, the fact is.
00:26:30.390 --> 00:26:42.690
Karen Dunn: A gathering on the scale of the unite the right just would not and and you know January six frankly would just not have been possible at any other earlier time in history.
00:26:43.140 --> 00:26:53.910
Karen Dunn: Without some organized political party, and so I I think you know there's that is really unprecedented as far as we can tell.
00:26:55.050 --> 00:27:02.160
Karen Dunn: And I do think you know, there are, I think the way the deal, I put in, I thought was really beautiful about the greatest generation.
00:27:02.880 --> 00:27:12.000
Karen Dunn: But there has been a shift of norms in our country and things that are acceptable now never would have been acceptable before.
00:27:12.510 --> 00:27:29.160
Karen Dunn: For some combination of reasons, and I think we're really seeing that I also think you know we at this point, have deposed a lot of white supremacists and one theme that clearly comes through is just their endemic frustration.
00:27:30.630 --> 00:27:37.890
Karen Dunn: That you know, is really driving a lot of this, and so that you know I that i've.
00:27:38.100 --> 00:27:38.940
John Avlon: been approached you on that.
00:27:39.000 --> 00:27:44.010
John Avlon: What what what what kinds of frustrations lead one to become a Nazi.
00:27:45.150 --> 00:27:49.020
Karen Dunn: Well, I think there are probably a lot of people are frustrated who do not become Nazis.
00:27:50.280 --> 00:28:00.480
Karen Dunn: But I will say it is, it does seem to be a common feature of a lot of the folks that we have spoken to in the course of our case of just this frustration.
00:28:01.260 --> 00:28:10.830
Karen Dunn: that there are other groups that have organizations and advocates and they feel like there's nobody advocating for them.
00:28:11.250 --> 00:28:26.670
Karen Dunn: and obviously this is not, you know, this goes in a direction that is terrible and that we can countenance but you know I will save their the the passion, on the other side that's The other thing you cannot.
00:28:27.840 --> 00:28:28.770
Karen Dunn: minimize.
00:28:29.940 --> 00:28:38.670
Karen Dunn: The vm ins and the and the strength of us that we are up against I mean it is very, very, very intense, obviously.
00:28:38.970 --> 00:28:41.940
John Avlon: Is this life God that quote unquote replacement theory is that.
00:28:42.000 --> 00:28:42.330
Karen Dunn: Yes.
00:28:42.420 --> 00:28:45.390
Karen Dunn: that's what I was just got one part of it, I mean amy speaks about this.
00:28:45.390 --> 00:28:55.530
Karen Dunn: Really, she should do that, but it is, I think one thing I will say in this group of people understand.
00:28:56.160 --> 00:29:12.840
Karen Dunn: A very tiny percentage of what's going on, we monitor this every day, and we, like you, I have gone deep in the heart of what is going on, and I think that that the vast majority of the American public understand a tiny little sliver of what is happening.
00:29:14.070 --> 00:29:21.240
Amy Spitalnick: And I wholeheartedly agree with both what Karen and eli said, and I think it's important to understand.
00:29:21.900 --> 00:29:32.370
Amy Spitalnick: Just the point Karen was just making that I think there are a lot of people who feel like perhaps there was election, things have changed in this country and the threat of extremism might have.
00:29:32.820 --> 00:29:43.470
Amy Spitalnick: gone away, after January six and after January 20, and that is certainly not the case, I think we are in one of the most dire moments in recent history when it comes to the threat.
00:29:43.800 --> 00:29:50.460
Amy Spitalnick: of Violent extremism in this country and charlottesville in so many ways, really was just the preview or the harbinger of that.
00:29:50.910 --> 00:29:59.910
Amy Spitalnick: And at the core of what happened in charlottesville and and so many other incidents of violence over the last few years is the replacement theory that you that you mentioned and.
00:30:00.390 --> 00:30:10.950
Amy Spitalnick: What Karen was describing in terms of the frustrations and ideology of these defendants speaks precisely to this that's an idea to have a quick refresher for those who don't know the replacement theory.
00:30:11.310 --> 00:30:19.260
Amy Spitalnick: To this idea that like with so many conspiracy theories, many of the same conspiracy theories that motivated the original Nazis in the 30s and 40s.
00:30:19.620 --> 00:30:27.330
Amy Spitalnick: Jews are the puppet masters, who are orchestrating the ills of society, or what they believe to be the ills of society, it could be a variety of ills.
00:30:27.660 --> 00:30:42.210
Amy Spitalnick: In the modern manifestation it is demographic changes in this country, the particular success or strength of the black Community like our first black president of the black lives matter protest last summer, which brought attention to racial injustice.
00:30:42.510 --> 00:30:50.850
Amy Spitalnick: Of course, immigration refugees coming to this country and hopes of a better life, and so it manifests in very explicit obvious ways.
00:30:51.420 --> 00:30:56.670
Amy Spitalnick: Like in charlottesville where they quite literally chanted Jews will not replace us that's what they meant by that.
00:30:57.090 --> 00:31:06.870
Amy Spitalnick: In Pittsburgh, where the shooter specifically chose that synagogue because they work with highest the Hebrew immigrant aid society to support refugees of all backgrounds coming to this country.
00:31:07.350 --> 00:31:18.570
Amy Spitalnick: And, of course, in so many other attacks, including the Boston poway the El paso attack and echoes of it on January six when you hear about stopping the steel of this country.
00:31:19.260 --> 00:31:24.480
Amy Spitalnick: And some of the Nazi and confederate paraphernalia that was found at the Capitol day.
00:31:25.020 --> 00:31:30.780
Amy Spitalnick: And so we know it manifests in very explicitly isn't that there are also direct connections between these attacks.
00:31:31.080 --> 00:31:43.800
Amy Spitalnick: For example, the Pittsburgh cheater communicated with them charlottesville leaders, the Christ church shooter who is motivated by the same ideology and his attack and New Zealand two and a half years ago I donated to some of our charlottesville defendants and.
00:31:43.860 --> 00:31:54.210
Amy Spitalnick: wrote to Richard Spencer and Andrew England and painted on to his gun a white power symbol popularized by a third defendant Matthew highmark this symbol, known as the fast track.
00:31:54.600 --> 00:31:59.850
Amy Spitalnick: Cross Church was live streamed and, in turn, inspired the hubspot attack and poway El paso attack.
00:32:00.150 --> 00:32:09.390
Amy Spitalnick: And so you really see these direct connections in which this ideology is obvious it's explicit and of course it's really, really dangerous I think equally dangerous to that.
00:32:09.660 --> 00:32:14.760
Amy Spitalnick: Is what carrying started to allude to the ways in which some of extremism has been mainstream.
00:32:15.180 --> 00:32:23.100
Amy Spitalnick: How the norms in this country are starting to shift and we are now seeing this ideology this replacement theory manifest in.
00:32:23.340 --> 00:32:34.800
Amy Spitalnick: More mainstream forums last night Tucker carlson gave an explicit endorsement of it on fox news and that shouldn't be partisan to call that out we've had elected officials.
00:32:35.160 --> 00:32:47.010
Amy Spitalnick: literally a spouse replacement theory in their official capacities and they're not even trying to hide it in certain ways they are exclusively talking about the replacement of white people in this country.
00:32:47.490 --> 00:32:49.260
Amy Spitalnick: And while it might not be.
00:32:49.560 --> 00:33:00.720
Amy Spitalnick: Violent neo Nazis marching on the streets of charlottesville chanting Jesus will not replace us, it has the very same intent, which is that it shows the norms in this country are changing, and I think in some ways it's more dangerous.
00:33:00.960 --> 00:33:09.300
Amy Spitalnick: because it shows the norms are changing and it gives a green light to extremists motivated by that hate motivated by that ideology.
00:33:09.570 --> 00:33:18.390
Amy Spitalnick: To take action, so I think we need to be clear eyed about what motivated these attacks, how it connects to historical extremism and anti semitism.
00:33:18.930 --> 00:33:30.630
Amy Spitalnick: And Deborah lives that has a fantastic export report in our case that talks about just that that will be sure to send around but also be really theorized about how it's becoming increasingly mainstreamed in recent years.
00:33:31.530 --> 00:33:32.370
Eli Rosenbaum: Because those.
00:33:32.460 --> 00:33:38.400
Eli Rosenbaum: As amy says so so powerfully I mean we do indeed live in perilous times.
00:33:40.650 --> 00:33:50.940
Eli Rosenbaum: Times that I think most of us could never have imagined even even a few a few years ago, I think I should note that the Attorney General merrick Garland has.
00:33:52.380 --> 00:34:09.060
Eli Rosenbaum: announced that significant additional resources or being deployed to fight combat hate hate crimes and also FBI director Chris Ray testified the other day about a huge ramping up of domestic terrorism investigation.
00:34:09.630 --> 00:34:10.050
John Avlon: And and.
00:34:10.320 --> 00:34:18.810
Eli Rosenbaum: had success the FBI has had success in in preventing hate, violence, for example, last year in Las Vegas.
00:34:20.310 --> 00:34:28.620
John Avlon: Yes, and and you know, as has been pointed out, merrick Garland, of course, you know first guy that came to public prominence and his prosecution in the wake of Oklahoma city.
00:34:30.120 --> 00:34:47.310
John Avlon: To the extent that different forms of hate are connected on some level, but I want to stay there with you eli I mean given your perspective and devoted a life to to bringing X Nazis to justice, do you see explicit echoes in the rhetoric of hate that we see.
00:34:48.840 --> 00:34:52.560
John Avlon: creeping into the mainstream today, or does it feel.
00:34:53.730 --> 00:34:54.540
John Avlon: distinct.
00:34:56.010 --> 00:35:04.980
Eli Rosenbaum: It feels distinct in the sense that there is not a government directing directing what's happening right it's not the Nazi regime of.
00:35:06.060 --> 00:35:15.450
Eli Rosenbaum: World War Two era, but it's empowered greatly in different ways, and as amy and Karen have said a lot of the themes are the same.
00:35:15.870 --> 00:35:29.730
Eli Rosenbaum: And so many of these people have access to weapons of various kinds, and so many of them use those weapons against innocent people, so the ECHO and the symbols that they use.
00:35:31.260 --> 00:35:41.010
Eli Rosenbaum: The themes and symbols that they use the definitely echo what what the Nazis did in their acolytes in in the 1930s and 40s.
00:35:42.120 --> 00:35:51.480
Karen Dunn: yeah so one thing I want to add to this is, I do think and i'm I am not the expert that ui is, but I do think there's just a greater degree.
00:35:53.040 --> 00:36:09.450
Karen Dunn: of misinformation that is utilized to sort of cloud what's going on, so I think, whereas there was a certain amount of Nazi ISM that you know wasn't organized political party very much owned.
00:36:10.320 --> 00:36:24.450
Karen Dunn: The actual violence and hate here, there is a desire to cast what is happening as jokes.
00:36:25.230 --> 00:36:44.340
Karen Dunn: or violent acts that are really self Defense which sometimes are violent acts that are provoked so that they can be violent acts and then clean self Defense later, and so the tactics are actually quite sophisticated as far as increasing.
00:36:45.570 --> 00:36:51.930
Karen Dunn: You know the intend to do, violence and the execution of violence in things that seem more acceptable.
00:36:53.100 --> 00:36:58.020
Karen Dunn: Like political rallies and self Defense and such.
00:36:58.200 --> 00:37:12.180
Karen Dunn: And so I actually you know have come to believe it's very strategic I think the you know the writings the articles there it's very strategic what's going on and much less overt.
00:37:12.690 --> 00:37:25.020
Karen Dunn: As far as the you know the true intent, and I think that is you know to me that is a very likely difference between the modern era and the history.
00:37:25.770 --> 00:37:28.050
John Avlon: I will say, though, that um.
00:37:28.470 --> 00:37:46.380
John Avlon: One thing that that was used in the days of the KKK and it's offshoot organizations, the White citizens Councils and all that was this tactic that you just described called aggressive defensiveness where they would come into rallies and and provoke violence and then use that as a justification.
00:37:47.490 --> 00:37:50.850
John Avlon: For violence, I mean some of this stuff really is kind of cut and pasted.
00:37:51.990 --> 00:37:53.010
John Avlon: synaptic cord.
00:37:53.760 --> 00:37:54.000
John Avlon: And that.
00:37:54.090 --> 00:38:02.430
Amy Spitalnick: we're seeing right now in portland and and so many other cities that are facing the sort of street fighting by the proud boys and other extremist it's that very same sort of tactic.
00:38:02.910 --> 00:38:07.380
John Avlon: interesting how much amy have you mean you alluded to this but.
00:38:09.780 --> 00:38:21.030
John Avlon: How you put the genie back in the bottle is always very difficult, especially when you've got decentralized groups and movements, and I think one common thread this conversation, is that the Internet social media.
00:38:21.450 --> 00:38:26.910
John Avlon: has made it possible to aggregate people whose extremist views might have alienated them in the past right.
00:38:28.410 --> 00:38:43.650
John Avlon: But, to what extent does the presence of these suits hasn't shown specifically that it can take take an organization and and and and and bankrupt it and you know diffuse it.
00:38:44.730 --> 00:38:46.350
John Avlon: In meaningful ways.
00:38:47.790 --> 00:39:00.960
Amy Spitalnick: it's been very clear that suits like this have impact and, if you look historically at some of the civil litigation brought against the KKK or against other extremist groups like the Michael Donald case brought by the SLC.
00:39:01.500 --> 00:39:11.190
Amy Spitalnick: In which ultimately Michael Donald who's a victim of clan violence his mother one the deed, to the tuscaloosa headquarters of the KKK and now you know well known case.
00:39:11.970 --> 00:39:17.460
Amy Spitalnick: Perhaps one of the best examples of how hate groups have been bankrupt through civil litigation, like the similarly.
00:39:17.910 --> 00:39:23.640
Amy Spitalnick: Case actually brought by karen's from PO ways in the 90s against the Nuremberg files, which is a far right site.
00:39:24.120 --> 00:39:35.730
Amy Spitalnick: Targeting reproductive health clinics and that effectively went after those groups targeting those those health professionals bankrupt them chase them around for the rest of their life is collecting on those judgments.
00:39:36.150 --> 00:39:40.530
Amy Spitalnick: And so there's a strong history, here we know this works and we're seeing it in this case.
00:39:40.830 --> 00:39:50.400
Amy Spitalnick: With a lot of the defendants in our pseudo reading marginalized things this loss of people like Richard Spencer, who three or four years ago, was one of the leading neo Nazis in this country coining the term all right.
00:39:50.790 --> 00:39:55.920
Amy Spitalnick: And he himself has talked about how we financially crippled him quote unquote and how.
00:39:56.310 --> 00:40:05.280
Amy Spitalnick: he's no longer able to really go about his business and we've heard similar comments from other defendants I don't want to suggest that this suit is a silver bullet, though, and needs to go hand in hand.
00:40:05.460 --> 00:40:15.810
Amy Spitalnick: With so much other work and needs to go hand in hand with criminal prosecutions, that of course us has alluded to in terms of January 6 and the other work coming out of the Garland DOJ.
00:40:16.500 --> 00:40:30.060
Amy Spitalnick: It needs to go hand in hand with not just federal action but local and state action hate crimes in particular are central to are really state and local prosecutions are central to.
00:40:30.900 --> 00:40:42.180
Amy Spitalnick: Holding those responsible for hate crimes accountable and my prior life I worked in the New York a GS office and only saw a spike in hate crimes after the 2016 election with the issue of Bulletin to local.
00:40:42.480 --> 00:40:45.840
Amy Spitalnick: Governments and PDS reminding them of their obligations.
00:40:46.470 --> 00:40:55.710
Amy Spitalnick: To hold those responsible for hate crimes accountable we're 2020 according to the FBI was the worst year for hate crime since 2001 so that is clearly.
00:40:55.920 --> 00:41:03.060
Amy Spitalnick: another manifestation of extremism this country, it might not be a flashy event like unite the right but on a day to day basis we're seeing hate crimes, really.
00:41:03.810 --> 00:41:09.390
Amy Spitalnick: terrorized communities around this country and of course we need action from social media companies in the private sector.
00:41:09.960 --> 00:41:22.920
Amy Spitalnick: There are social media companies that can act and might act with pressure, and then there are those who have both entire business models and giving a home to extremism and if they won't act, we need domain registrar's web hosting companies to take action.
00:41:23.520 --> 00:41:32.700
Amy Spitalnick: Because we know that the platforming these extremists, making sure they don't have an unnecessarily large audience or voice has major impacts in their ability to recruit.
00:41:32.940 --> 00:41:40.950
Amy Spitalnick: And to operate again don't take it, for me, Richard Spencer said it just in our case, where he said because he's been the platform he can't go about his business.
00:41:41.310 --> 00:41:48.060
Amy Spitalnick: And so it requires the sort of whole of government and whole of society approach civil litigation now plays a really crucial role.
00:41:48.450 --> 00:41:49.260
John Avlon: we're going to get to.
00:41:49.830 --> 00:41:59.070
John Avlon: Some questions in just a second the draw on that, but for do Karen I wanted to ask you about the downstream effect of this have you seen any of the individuals that.
00:42:00.060 --> 00:42:07.230
John Avlon: have come on your radar and unite the right has there been any overlap organizationally or individually in the January six attack, as far as you've seen.
00:42:08.310 --> 00:42:19.380
Karen Dunn: yeah so as amy said before there's there is some overlap are defendants, however, I think, potentially, due to the determining factor of this lawsuit we're not.
00:42:20.220 --> 00:42:28.140
Karen Dunn: At on the capital premises on January six and and many of them have said that this suit has affected them.
00:42:28.590 --> 00:42:36.810
Karen Dunn: Financially, and then you know, we have received from the Court sanctions against a number of the defendants and just.
00:42:37.260 --> 00:42:42.000
Karen Dunn: it's you know I am obviously a trial lawyer, so I I think about these things lot.
00:42:42.690 --> 00:42:57.540
Karen Dunn: it's very, very unusual to get pre trial evidentiary sanctions against defendants in case it just nearly never happens, and so, in our case, due to the extreme discovery misconduct.
00:42:57.870 --> 00:43:07.740
Karen Dunn: Of the defendants, which included destruction of evidence on the Court has already found a racially motivated conspiracy to do violence.
00:43:08.760 --> 00:43:23.280
Karen Dunn: As to some of our defendants and it has already levied financial penalties and in one case through somebody in jail for a little while due to their discovery misconduct, so I do think the downstream effects are undeniable.
00:43:24.120 --> 00:43:31.980
Karen Dunn: Both in the micro sense and, we hope, frankly, in the macro sense I mean i'm just a big believer that.
00:43:33.030 --> 00:43:37.590
Karen Dunn: You know it's one thing for me, as a lawyer aware used to work in government.
00:43:38.340 --> 00:43:44.850
Karen Dunn: To stand up in court and say these people need to be held accountable it's a second thing, even better, for the judge to say it.
00:43:45.210 --> 00:43:59.100
Karen Dunn: But for a jury of regular people from the Western district of Virginia to see all the evidence in the case, probably the first time that all the facts of what happened that weekend will be told to any group of people.
00:44:00.030 --> 00:44:06.120
Karen Dunn: If they can come back and return a verdict that says, under our laws, this is not acceptable.
00:44:06.630 --> 00:44:15.060
Karen Dunn: This cannot happen in our country that I hope is the thing that has the most downstream effect and that's really I mean you know for me personally.
00:44:15.510 --> 00:44:24.480
Karen Dunn: That is what you know is is motivating me I believe in the power of a jury verdict, and so, hopefully, hopefully, we will get one here that we like.
00:44:25.470 --> 00:44:27.390
Eli Rosenbaum: done, could I could I just say one thing.
00:44:28.380 --> 00:44:52.110
Eli Rosenbaum: i'm going to take off my my federal official prosecutor hat noun speak personally, there is obviously a big role for for government agencies to play in this space and FBI and ice hsi and and the Justice Department overall doing a lot of really good work, but i've always believed that.
00:44:53.130 --> 00:45:08.340
Eli Rosenbaum: There is a big role for civil society and private citizens to play to do the kind of heroic frontline work that the defamation League has been doing for decades that integrity first is doing now, including in the Kessler suit.
00:45:09.690 --> 00:45:19.980
Eli Rosenbaum: These are essential undertakings for the protection of our our citizenry for protection of our country, I am pleased to see.
00:45:21.000 --> 00:45:42.870
Eli Rosenbaum: That civil remedies are becoming are coming into greater use so not only the KKK act that integrity first is is using but but live allies, which we're now now seeing us to know that can be very powerful weapon in this battle line i'm very, very pleased to see it.
00:45:43.950 --> 00:45:45.690
Eli Rosenbaum: In the comment or.
00:45:46.050 --> 00:45:57.990
John Avlon: Fair enough, so now we're getting some questions from folks and because we've got around 15 minutes left you know I think this one is from you from from mark fogle yeah if they.
00:45:58.980 --> 00:46:06.510
John Avlon: I believe the people of the United the right can had conspired to commit violence isn't that a criminal act, and if so, why hasn't the DOJ prosecuted.
00:46:07.740 --> 00:46:17.730
Eli Rosenbaum: Well, to Jay has i'm not the authority on those cases, the civil rights division at the Department of Justice is FBI, of course, of course, also is and.
00:46:18.210 --> 00:46:29.610
Eli Rosenbaum: A variety of cases have been brought, including the man who drove the car in charlottesville was prosecuted and convicted, yes, so it does it does happen, but.
00:46:30.750 --> 00:46:35.070
Eli Rosenbaum: there's a much broader REACH, I think, in the use of, for instance, the KKK.
00:46:36.660 --> 00:46:37.680
Amy Spitalnick: i'll just add to.
00:46:38.850 --> 00:46:43.110
Amy Spitalnick: That, I think you know the impetus for integrity first from ever being founded in 2017 was.
00:46:43.770 --> 00:46:56.130
Amy Spitalnick: Perhaps gaps that might exist in this space, and so it made it all the more important for us to bring this lawsuit in the aftermath of unite the right.
00:46:56.520 --> 00:47:08.970
Amy Spitalnick: Because we weren't sure what was necessarily going to happen, and so I don't want to speculate speculate about what might happen in a different world if charlottesville would have even happened in a different world there's a lot to say.
00:47:10.110 --> 00:47:18.930
Amy Spitalnick: A lot to say about that that is probably for a different discussion another time or a sort of choose your own adventure book about the narrative arc of the last.
00:47:19.740 --> 00:47:35.850
Amy Spitalnick: Five six years in this country, but I think that recognizing where there are gaps was was the biggest impetus for us to to bring this, or rather for IFA to be formed and to support litigation like this.
00:47:36.390 --> 00:47:47.880
Eli Rosenbaum: If I could put my DOJ hat back on, I would say also, I believe what you're seeing is something approaching a at least that Department of Justice a so called whole of government kind of approach.
00:47:48.930 --> 00:47:55.740
Eli Rosenbaum: To to combating these things as an example, my office, human rights and spark special prosecution section which.
00:47:56.280 --> 00:48:07.770
Eli Rosenbaum: brings suit against not only Nazi perpetrators by human rights violators from the conflicts in Bosnia and Rwanda, Guatemala, if you obey and elsewhere we've detailed.
00:48:08.670 --> 00:48:16.230
Eli Rosenbaum: Some of our top legal talent, to the US attorney's office in district district of Columbia, to work on the January six cases.
00:48:18.390 --> 00:48:20.760
John Avlon: Right that's interesting that's very interesting.
00:48:22.170 --> 00:48:28.050
John Avlon: Karen a roof asks what legal arguments are the defendants, making in the charlottesville shoot.
00:48:29.160 --> 00:48:46.740
Karen Dunn: A great question also, I just want to say, as the last question, as a former Garland clerk I you know, I have to say I do think this is an issue that he is so well equipped to handle as Attorney General and, frankly, there is nobody I would rather see.
00:48:47.970 --> 00:48:54.570
Karen Dunn: In that job right now so so I just want to want to mention that.
00:48:56.310 --> 00:49:05.370
Karen Dunn: So what arguments are the defendants, making one argument that they made at the motion to dismiss stage that was rejected by the Court.
00:49:06.750 --> 00:49:09.450
Karen Dunn: Was that the first amendment protected.
00:49:11.160 --> 00:49:19.770
Karen Dunn: The conduct that we had alleged and what the judge said, and along the fourth circuit is very strong on this, and this is sort of incontrovertible but.
00:49:20.160 --> 00:49:35.250
Karen Dunn: The for the first amendment does not protect violent activity Similarly, if you talk about how you're going to rob a bank, and then you rob a bank it's evidence about the bank robbery it's not it doesn't protect you from liability for having robbing.
00:49:36.720 --> 00:49:44.670
Karen Dunn: So that's one argument that did not fair well at the motion to dismiss stage and the judge said, if we prove the fact that we alleged.
00:49:45.690 --> 00:49:57.870
Karen Dunn: That the defendants would be liable under the law for their conduct another defensive they bring really is the self Defense Defense, which is to say.
00:49:58.650 --> 00:50:15.300
Karen Dunn: You know they there wasn't an intent for there to be violence, the discussion that seemed very threatening leading up to these events were just jokes and then actually they the it was the counter protesters who showed up.
00:50:16.380 --> 00:50:27.120
Karen Dunn: Who really initiated the confrontations and the people on the side of the white supremacist just reacted to that and violence ensued.
00:50:28.320 --> 00:50:42.660
Karen Dunn: And so, one of the witnesses, that we have at this trial is an expert really in way to premises tactics and communication, and so this idea that.
00:50:43.890 --> 00:50:50.160
Karen Dunn: It when you post things where you write things you want to say it in a way harder joking manner so that leader, you can say.
00:50:50.670 --> 00:50:58.740
Karen Dunn: It was just a joke, I was just joking, so there are a lot of posts that are very threatening very violent and then they end with like an Lol.
00:50:59.610 --> 00:51:06.960
Karen Dunn: So you know look I was just joking, and so we don't really you know, so we have as a witness in this case.
00:51:07.890 --> 00:51:25.770
Karen Dunn: One of the premier experts on white supremacy in America who's going to tell our jury, you know, here are some of the tactics that are used as a general matter, and they will they basically are all seen on display in our case, we think that will be very helpful to the jury interesting.
00:51:26.970 --> 00:51:38.490
John Avlon: You like this question is from mark does the government track money that's funnel to hate groups, he says, like Richard spencer's but let's open it up to you know, in general, what what are, what is the process on that.
00:51:38.880 --> 00:51:45.480
Eli Rosenbaum: Well, once it once again I wish we had a colleague from the justice department's civil rights.
00:51:47.190 --> 00:52:00.540
Eli Rosenbaum: Division so that's actually outside my lane outside my area of expertise, but I in the FBI has made clear that they are closely monitoring links among groups and.
00:52:02.010 --> 00:52:07.440
Eli Rosenbaum: The way that violent groups are able to amass resources.
00:52:10.650 --> 00:52:15.690
John Avlon: me let's get this one this one's for you this is sort of a broader existential strategic question but.
00:52:16.770 --> 00:52:21.630
John Avlon: Can rational discussion persuade extremists that their views are wrong or is that a waste of time.
00:52:22.620 --> 00:52:32.010
Amy Spitalnick: existential questions we have many of them in this case and sometimes I choose to focus on the more practical because the existential ones can be quite daunting like this one.
00:52:32.820 --> 00:52:42.300
Amy Spitalnick: I think I generally and maybe i'm cynical, I think that there are certainly those we can persuade, but there are those who are too entrenched in their beliefs.
00:52:42.840 --> 00:52:48.480
Amy Spitalnick: That, rather than persuade them to come to the light side, the correct side.
00:52:48.960 --> 00:53:01.890
Amy Spitalnick: We simply have to marginalize them, we have to push them back into the shadows, where they belong, and that is a potential impact of this case by making clear of the consequences for taking those vile those violent and hateful.
00:53:02.340 --> 00:53:04.980
Amy Spitalnick: ideas and turning them into real world action.
00:53:05.580 --> 00:53:15.690
Amy Spitalnick: I think this speaks to, of course, the first amendment distinction in this case as well, that if the defendant simply gone to charlottesville with their vital and important views and their Nazi.
00:53:15.990 --> 00:53:25.860
Amy Spitalnick: paraphernalia and chance that's protected conduct in this country and as horrific as I find it in, as all of us probably find that they have every right to believe that.
00:53:26.520 --> 00:53:37.080
Amy Spitalnick: But that's not what happened in charlottesville and that's not what's happening in this country right now there are far too many people involved in an empowered to turn those beliefs into real world action, and we need to make clear.
00:53:37.560 --> 00:53:46.200
Amy Spitalnick: put this movement on notice that there will be consequences for doing that and so maybe again i'm cynical, but I think.
00:53:46.890 --> 00:53:54.630
Amy Spitalnick: While we can change some hearts and minds we can't change all of them, and what we can do is just make very clear the consequences and push them back into the shadows, where they belong.
00:53:55.230 --> 00:54:18.270
Eli Rosenbaum: To better opportunity, I would say the best opportunity to shape hearts and minds is when people are are young with children, and so there were talking about the obligations that fall to our nation's parents our teachers our faith leaders to do a better job of teaching tolerance.
00:54:19.890 --> 00:54:23.130
Amy Spitalnick: And shout out to the museum, which does absolutely.
00:54:23.370 --> 00:54:24.840
Amy Spitalnick: Yes, regarding.
00:54:25.110 --> 00:54:26.850
John Avlon: All the museums.
00:54:29.160 --> 00:54:37.440
John Avlon: are connected I carolyn we give this one to you and it's related to what amy just asked but, but how does the skokie march relate to this discussion.
00:54:40.740 --> 00:54:56.760
Karen Dunn: Well that's an excellent question that i've never really thought about um I do I, one thing I want to say, though, and one reason I was a little bit distracted is we have met people in the course of this case, who have left the movement.
00:54:57.990 --> 00:55:00.600
Karen Dunn: I think sometimes these people are women.
00:55:02.100 --> 00:55:22.860
Karen Dunn: Who kind of look at the you know, the effects of what happened and they say you know, this is not, this is not what I was in in this for, and so I agree with what you I said, I do think you know you have to educate people before you know they become invested.
00:55:24.360 --> 00:55:39.510
Karen Dunn: In you know, in this way and in these groups and make these connections, but it is not impossible for people to leave the movement and I think that's important me, maybe i'm not as cynical as amy which is really shocking.
00:55:41.070 --> 00:55:44.610
Karen Dunn: If you knew the two of us, but I do think that.
00:55:46.110 --> 00:56:02.040
Karen Dunn: That there are ways for people to decide this isn't for me, I mean certainly you know not there are lacking, people who don't fall into that category, no matter what we said that it would not be persuasive, but there are people we have run across them in our case.
00:56:04.320 --> 00:56:18.060
John Avlon: it's helpful a lie we're running we're running down time, but this is a fascinating question have you do with your your macro work have other governments, besides the US and Israel engaged in serious Nazi hunting efforts.
00:56:18.840 --> 00:56:19.560
00:56:20.940 --> 00:56:23.730
Eli Rosenbaum: For the most part, the countries of Europe.
00:56:25.410 --> 00:56:44.850
Eli Rosenbaum: start there gave up on this on these efforts by 1950 the German Government sporadically prosecuted cases, including some very, very important cases like the Auschwitz multi defendant trial in the early to mid 60s, the.
00:56:46.500 --> 00:56:53.460
Eli Rosenbaum: prosecution of French dangle in the late 60s and some others, and since.
00:56:54.720 --> 00:57:10.500
Eli Rosenbaum: 2011 or so, when the Germans prosecutor, one of our best known former defendants DOJ giant them yeah New York, as was mentioned they've become more aggressive or be it at home very late almost too late date in those cases.
00:57:11.700 --> 00:57:23.280
Eli Rosenbaum: The Canadians followed, in a sense, our model and started prosecuting these cases in the 1980s, the last of those cases, it was announced today.
00:57:24.420 --> 00:57:25.350
Eli Rosenbaum: came to an end.
00:57:26.670 --> 00:57:38.310
Eli Rosenbaum: man in homework overlander it was real today died on Monday he was up in Ontario and was the very last Nazi criminal work anywhere in the western hemisphere.
00:57:39.060 --> 00:57:47.640
Eli Rosenbaum: He had actually in 1995 after he was charged in Canada fled to Florida, where he had a condo and a colleague.
00:57:48.120 --> 00:58:02.490
Eli Rosenbaum: of mine and I dropped in on him, that was an interesting day happened to have been the exact 50th anniversary of the day, may 1995 and we sent him back the same day to Canada, but.
00:58:03.750 --> 00:58:07.530
Eli Rosenbaum: His case was languishing in court for some 26 years.
00:58:09.180 --> 00:58:11.130
John Avlon: So the last night same Canada just died.
00:58:12.120 --> 00:58:14.850
Eli Rosenbaum: Last, one that was prosecuted in the western hemisphere.
00:58:16.230 --> 00:58:16.500
John Avlon: So.
00:58:17.640 --> 00:58:27.480
John Avlon: we're just about out of time, but amy I want to give the last word, do you as you and Karen work to bring this to trial, what do you hope will be the.
00:58:28.620 --> 00:58:31.050
John Avlon: Impact of this case.
00:58:32.250 --> 00:58:41.430
Amy Spitalnick: there's there's so much we hope for this, but I think it's pretty simple, I think, at the end of the day, it's about accountability and justice at a moment when it's been sorely lacking accountability.
00:58:41.580 --> 00:58:54.450
Amy Spitalnick: For those responsible for the violence for years ago, who have faced so little who are so deeply connected to the broader extremism we're facing justice for plaintiffs who are so incredibly brave who've taken this horrific.
00:58:54.810 --> 00:59:02.280
Amy Spitalnick: weekend that they survived and child into this case will have impacts that extend well beyond their communities well beyond charlottesville.
00:59:02.490 --> 00:59:13.110
Amy Spitalnick: For justice for charlottesville which I think is Karen described having a jury trials residents of the western district of Virginia holding these extremists accountable, who attacked their Community there's power.
00:59:14.010 --> 00:59:18.240
Amy Spitalnick: And because of the power and then it also really leads to broader impact.
00:59:18.900 --> 00:59:27.540
Amy Spitalnick: The deterrent effect, we hope that this has not just in bankrupting and dismantling the specific defendants in our suit but deterring others from being a part of this violence.
00:59:27.990 --> 00:59:31.200
Amy Spitalnick: And this has been alluded to here the power of a trial.
00:59:31.500 --> 00:59:43.920
Amy Spitalnick: To really capture the public's attention educate the public meet people understand the crisis that we're facing the ideology that's at the core of how these individuals and groups operate the violence as a core.
00:59:44.280 --> 00:59:49.110
Amy Spitalnick: And again, the consequences that we need to make sure happen for being a part of this.
00:59:49.680 --> 00:59:57.450
Amy Spitalnick: We are so certainly going to make sure that the impact of this case, the legacy, the story of this case is told well beyond this fall.
00:59:57.750 --> 01:00:06.330
Amy Spitalnick: We go to trial on October 25 so starting very soon, finally, after for long long years of Karen and our team tirelessly litigating this.
01:00:07.110 --> 01:00:10.770
Amy Spitalnick: But we hope that the legacy is one that extends.
01:00:11.250 --> 01:00:18.000
Amy Spitalnick: far into the future, not just into the tent in terms of the tangible impact on the defendants and the justice for charlottesville in our plaintiffs.
01:00:18.270 --> 01:00:26.610
Amy Spitalnick: But in the turn effect and the legacy that this case has the model, it provides, in the fight against extremism, at a time when it's really needed.
01:00:28.050 --> 01:00:35.490
John Avlon: Well, I want to thank you all for fascinating discussion he, like Karen amy Thank you so much, are you going to come back and close us out.
01:00:37.440 --> 01:00:47.220
Ari Goldstein: Thank you all for being here don if it's okay i'm going to ask one last question, which I think is an important one, how can our audience Members get involved in supporting the trial if they're right there with you guys.
01:00:47.760 --> 01:00:49.440
Amy Spitalnick: Well i'm so glad us thank you.
01:00:50.520 --> 01:00:57.840
Amy Spitalnick: I think there are some links in chat and perhaps will be sent them after the fact, as well, or you can go to integrity, first for america.org.
01:00:58.380 --> 01:01:05.010
Amy Spitalnick: If you sign up for updates, they will make sure that you get regular updates of what's happening during case during trial.
01:01:05.700 --> 01:01:12.030
Amy Spitalnick: It is not easy to necessarily sit on a conference call line all day to listen to what is happening in the courtroom.
01:01:12.510 --> 01:01:23.970
Amy Spitalnick: If you are an average citizen, and so we want to make sure that again the story of this trial is heard around the country and around the world and we will be sending out regular updates, we are also holding a large.
01:01:24.150 --> 01:01:32.160
Amy Spitalnick: Pre trial event actually being in partnership actually with the museum and featuring check pfleger among many others.
01:01:32.880 --> 01:01:41.640
Amy Spitalnick: Next week, on September 30 and folks can sign up for that on our website and integrity, first for america.org.
01:01:42.360 --> 01:01:53.610
Amy Spitalnick: and learn more about this hear from all sorts of other experts in this space about the fight against extremism and again we'll be sure to keep you apprised as we proceed ports trial.
01:01:55.350 --> 01:02:05.880
Ari Goldstein: Both the museum and adl New York New Jersey our supporters of integrity, first for america's work and we urge our audience to get involved cover the legal fees and make sure that this case is a success.
01:02:06.390 --> 01:02:13.770
Ari Goldstein: john Thank you so much for helping us understand this issue more deeply Karen amy eli, thank you for sharing your expertise with us.
01:02:14.220 --> 01:02:28.440
Ari Goldstein: we'll stay in touch with everyone good luck at the trial and we will share an email with our audience tomorrow that includes recording of today's discussion and some follow up links, including john's new CNN serious reality check extremist be wishing everyone a great afternoon.
Support the Legal Case Against Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville
Integrity First for America is leading the charge in Sines v. Kessler, a federal lawsuit seeking to bankrupt and dismantle the hate groups that organized the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Donate to help cover Integrity First’s legal and security fees during the trial.
Read Deborah Lipstadt’s Expert Witness Report
Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, an advisor to the Museum and President Biden’s nominee for the role of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, submitted an expert report on antisemitism as part of the Sines v. Kessler case materials. Read Lipstadt’s expert report here.
Watch John Avlon’s New Series on QAnon
CNN Senior Political Analyst John Avlon is hosting a brand new series on the roots of QAnon titled Reality Check: Extremist Beat. The series includes an episode on the antisemitic blood libel which draws insights from the Museum’s collections. Watch the new series here.