24-year-old Cole Evan White, of Clayton, California, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Virginia to one count of conspiracy to violate the federal riots statute.
White was reportedly a member of the “Rise Above Movement” (RAM) extremist group.
He admitted to traveling across the country to commit acts of violence at the torch-lit march on the University of Virginia ground on August 11, 2017 and the Unite the Right Rally on August 12,2017.
According to a spokesperson with the United States Attorneys’ office of the Western District of Virginia, White faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
White, Benjamin Daley, Thomas Gillen, and Micheal Miselis were indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2018.
According to officials, they were all charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the federal riots statute and one count of traveling in interstate commerce with the intent to incite a riot. Federal charges are pending against Daley, Gillen, and Miselis, that evidence presented in court Friday proves that this openly extremist group had members that engaged in physical training and mixed martial arts street-fighting techniques.
RAM frequently posted photographs and video of themselves engages in these activities, as well as of their attendance at various political rallies and events in California and Virginia.
White admitted Friday that on August 11, 2017, he took a cab from the airport and met RAM members and several hundred other white supremacists gathered on the grounds of the University of Virginia torch-lit march on the evening prior to the Unite the Right rally.
It was confirmed that, throughout the march, participants chanted, “Blood and Soil!” and “Jews will not Replace Us.” The march culminated at the statute of Thomas Jefferson, where the hundreds of white supremacists surrounded a small group of counter-protesters.
Officials say violence erupted among the crowd, with some individuals punching, kicking, spraying chemical irritants, swinging torches, and otherwise assaulting others, all resulting in a riot.
Among that riot, White admitted today to swinging his torch and striking several individuals and that none of these acts of violence was taken in self-defense.
According to officials, the following morning, White, and members of RAM, attended the Unite the Right rally in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va. White, Daley, and other RAM members were part of a larger group attempting to gain entry into the park following a declaration of “unlawful assembly” by law enforcement.
The investigations of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Virginia State Police.