Neo-Nazi group admits A12 liability and Kessler drops suit

Jeff Schoep, longtime head of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, says he’s still in charge.
AP Images for the Southern Poverty Law Center Jeff Schoep, longtime head of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, says he’s still in charge. AP Images for the Southern Poverty Law Center

The National Socialist Movement, a defendant in a post-Unite the Right lawsuit, made a bizarre shift when its former leader signed over the organization to black civil rights activist James Hart Stern, who then filed a motion admitting liability for the neo-Nazi group.

The complaint, Sines v. Kessler, alleges that the 25 white supremacist defendants who showed up in Charlottesville August 12, 2017, conspired to commit violence. California resident Stern filed a motion for summary judgment in federal court February 28 “based on the truth of all statements made in plaintiffs’ complaint against defendant National Socialist Movement being true.”

Stern says he took over the group February 15 and does not hold the values of the neo-Nazi organization. The motion “rights a wrong that is over 25 years coming,” he says in the court filing.

Jeff Schoep, who has run the organization since 1994 and who is named individually as a defendant in the case, told the Washington Post that Stern “deceived” him when he convinced Schoep to sign over the NSM presidency.

According to Stern, Schoep called his neo-Nazi org an “albatross hanging around his neck” and was worried about the cost of the lawsuit.

It’s not the first time Stern has convinced a white supremacist to give him control: Stern was doing time for wire fraud in Mississippi and former KKK grand wizard Edgar Ray Killen, who was convicted of killing three civil rights workers in 1964, was his cellmate, the Post reports. Killen signed over his life story and power of attorney to Stern, who dissolved that Killen’s Klan in 2016.

And in another lawsuit involving some of the same players, attorney Elmer Woodard filed a motion to dismiss a complaint filed by Jason Kessler and the National Socialists and Traditional Workers Party against former police chief Al Thomas and Virginia State Police Lieutenant Becky Cranniss-Curl for not protecting their First and 14th Amendment rights August 12.


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