White Nationalist Released by Judge, Government Scrambles to Re-Capture

White Nationalist Released by Controversial Judge

The federal government is scrambling to put the white nationalist brawler Robert Rundo back behind bars following the surprising decision by a district judge in California to dismiss riot charges against Rundo, citing “selective prosecution.”

Rundo was accused of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Riot Act for planning and participating in violence at a series of political rallies across California in 2017 when he was the leader of a far-right fight club known as the Rise Above Movement or RAM. A federal indictment described how Rundo and his crew decked themselves out as combatants with “goggles, mouth guards, athletic tape around their wrists, and black face masks with white skeleton designs.”

On Wednesday, federal judge Cormac Carney dismissed the charges against Rundo and a co-defendant. “While Defendants openly promoted ideas the Court finds reprehensible, and likely committed violence for which they deserve to be prosecuted,” Carney wrote, “this case is about something more important.” The judge ruled that the government had engaged in unconstitutional “selective prosecution” by singling out RAM members, while not similarly bringing charges against “members of Antifa and related far-left groups” whom he asserted had “engaged in worse conduct.” From the bench Carney ordered Rundo’s release, reportedly remarking: “I don’t think it’s right that Mr. Rundo spends another minute in custody.”

The government disagreed — and sought a stay of Rundo’s release while it appealed Carney’s ruling. That motion was granted early Thursday by the Ninth Circuit court, but it was too late. Rundo had already been set free. So on Thursday afternoon, the feds filed a new emergency motion seeking a court order to arrest Rundo and “immediately return him” to custody.

The government writes that it considers Rundo “an extremely serious flight risk” and believes he has already traveled to Southern California, “near the United States-Mexico border.”

The federal prosecution of Rundo has already been a twisted road. Judge Carney had previously dismissed the charges against the RAM leader in 2019 by ruling that the Anti-Riot Act was unconstitutional. In 2021, an appeals court overruled Carney’s decision. But by that time Rundo was living in Eastern Europe, where he has been a leader in creating a international network of violent-white nationalist groups known as Active Clubs.

Last year, Rundo was arrested in Romania, and extradited to California in August. Judge Carney again upended the case against the white nationalist leader in his Wednesday ruling that immediately sparked criticism in legal circles. Carney wrote, in his 35 page opinion, that “prosecuting only members of the far right and ignoring members of the far left leads to the troubling conclusion that the government believes it is permissible to physically assault and injure Trump supporters to silence speech.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


Read the government’s “emergency motion” embedded below.

Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/robert-rundo-judge-dismisses-charges-white-nationalist-1234974338/

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