Nazi Driver Pleads Not Guilty To Hate Crime Charges

The Associated Press reports:

An Ohio man pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges Thursday in a deadly car attack on a crowd of protesters opposing a white nationalist rally in Virginia.

James Alex Fields Jr. entered the plea during his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville after being charged last week with 30 federal crimes in the Aug. 12 violence that killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injured dozens more. He also is charged under Virginia law with murder and other crimes.

Fields, of Maumee, Ohio, wore a gray striped jumpsuit and sat quietly, giving brief answers to the judge’s questions. He entered the courtroom wearing handcuffs and shackles. The cuffs were removed when he came in, then re-fastened when he left. His attorneys made no request for bail.

Washington’s WTOP radio reports:

Prosecutors have said they will seek life in prison. In the federal charges, two counts are directly related to Heyer’s death. The maximum penalty for “Hate Crime Act Resulting in Death” is life in prison, but federal prosecutors also charged Fields with “Bias-Motivated Interference with Federally Protected Activity Resulting in Death,” which can be punishable by death. As of last week, federal prosecutors had not said whether they intend to seek the death penalty.