STANISLAUS COUNTY (CBS13) — A Stanislaus County man is one of several white-supremacist leaders ordered to pay a total of $25 million in a lawsuit over the the 2017 Charlottesville protest that turned deadly.
Nathan Damigo had made headlines for his political views before, including back in 2016, when he was a student on the Stanislaus State campus.
CBS13 first spoke to Nathan Damigo in 2016 when he became a controversial figure recruiting students at Stanislaus State to his whites-only club, Identity Europa.
He claimed then he was not a white nationalist.
"Do you condemn white supremaciy speech? Do you condemn hate speech? Do you condemn these types of ideas," CBS13's Steve Large had asked him.
"I mean, you would have to define what you mean by white supremacy or hate speech," Damigo said.
Damigo gained more notoriety in 2017 after a camera caught him punching a woman in the face at at Berkeley protest.
Now, he is making more headlines after a judge ruled him partly responsible in the 2017 Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally that left a woman dead.
A federal judge is ordering Damigo to pay $500,000 for helping to organize the rally. The judge says organizers openly discussed committing specific acts of violence against counterprotesters ahead of the event.
Civil rights attorney Jeffrey Kravitz says those conversations predicted what happened. A self-proclaimed Hitler supporter drove into a crowd, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.
"Prior to the event happening, they openly talked about the actual event, the driving of a car into a group of protesters," Kravitz said.
Kravitz says the evidence presented in this case did not protect Damigo's claims he and his co-defendants were practicing freedom of speech.
"There is no speech to intimidate, there is no speech to gather to do violence, there is no speech to gather people together knowing they may harm somebody," Kravitz said.
Damigo now faces a half-a-million dollar judgement against him, and the full force of the federal government able to seize that money.
The Modesto Bee reports Damigo tried to declare bankruptcy in 2019 to shield his money from plaintiffs. A judge would not let him.
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