A federal appeals court has found that four alleged members of a Southern California-based militant, white-supremacist group can face criminal charges for violent attacks at local political rallies, reversing the ruling of a lower court judge who questioned the constitutionality of the law they were charged under. The ruling by a panel of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judges revives the criminal cases against several alleged members of the “Rise Above Movement,” a group prosecutors allege recruited and trained members to commit violence at political rallies, including gatherings in Huntington Beach, Berkeley and San Bernardino. Robert Rundo, of Huntington Beach, Robert Boman, of Torrance, Tyler Laube, of Redondo Beach, and Aaron Eason, of Anza, are accused of attacking people at the Huntington Beach and Berkeley rallies, with Rundo also accused of confronting people at a San Bernardino rally. Prosecutors allege Rundo and Boman posted about the “violent acts” on social media in order to recruit others.
The March 2017 rally in Huntington Beach was held in support of then-President Donald Trump, and included a violent melee at Bolsa Chica State Beach with attacks on counter-protesters and journalists. The San Bernardino anti-Islamic law rally several months later also sparked violence, as well as acts of vandalism. The men were charged under the Anti-Riot Act of 1968. However, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney in June 2019 ruled that the act was too broad in regulating free speech, leading him to throw out the charges. Carney acknowledged the Rise Above Movement’s “hateful and toxic ideology,” but found that the government had “sufficient means at its disposal to prevent and punish such behavior without sacrificing the First Amendment.” The appeals court agreed that portions of the Anti-Riot act intruded on protected speech and as a result their opinion narrowed part of the law. But the appellate judges still found enough of the Anti-Riot Act constitutional for the charges against the four alleged Rise Above Movement members to be reinstated. The appellate judges wrote that the Anti-Riot Act covers “unprotected speech” that instigates an imminent riot and “unprotected conduct” such as committing acts of violence “in furtherance of a riot.”

via merczrynews: 4 alleged California white supremacists can face charges, appeals court rules