Kessler makes back-to-back court appearances

Joe Draego, who retrieved Jason Kessler's phone,  declined to comment on his assault charge, but he was happy to discuss his plans for buying a farm.

staff photo Joe Draego, who retrieved Jason Kessler’s phone, declined to comment on his assault charge, but he was happy to discuss his plans for buying a farm. staff photo

Blogger and antifa resister Jason Kessler’s weekend was bookended by dates in the Charlottesville General District Court, one in which he claims he’s the victim, another in which he was sentenced for assault.

On Friday, May 5, a special prosecutor was named and a court date set to hear Kessler’s charge against Sara Tansey for grabbing his phone at a Corey Stewart rally February 11 in Lee Park. At that same event, Tansey alleges Joe Draego, the man who sued Charlottesville after he was dragged out of City Council for calling Muslims “monstrous maniacs,” assaulted her when he retrieved Kessler’s phone.

At an April 17 hearing, Kessler complained to the judge that Tansey should have been charged with felony larceny rather than destruction of property, a Class 3 misdemeanor, according to her attorney, Jeff Fogel. He also demanded a special prosecutor, but voiced dissatisfaction with Mike Doucette, the Lynchburg commonwealth’s attorney brought in as a special prosecutor for Kessler’s petition to remove Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy from office. Doucette determined in March Kessler did not have enough signatures and he declined to proceed with the petition.

Fluvanna Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeff Haislip will hear the Tansey and Draego cases June 8.

Kessler’s sentencing for slugging a man was originally scheduled for April 27, but was continued because he was out of town. According to his Twitter account, Kessler was in Berkeley “resisting terrorist Antifa threats” to Ann Coulter, whose visit to the university there was canceled.

He previously pleaded guilty April 6 to punching Jay Taylor while collecting petition signatures January 22. Kessler also filed assault charges against Taylor, but the prosecutor threw those out March 3 with prejudice because video surveillance footage did not support Kessler’s story.

In court Monday, Kessler was sentenced to a 30-day suspended jail sentence, 50 hours of community service and told to have no “violent contact” with Taylor.

After the hearing, Taylor said, “I don’t think jail is appropriate. I hold no ill will toward Mr. Kessler. We worked together. I considered him a friend. I wish he’d spend as much energy building our community up rather than tearing it down.”

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