Motions hearing continues in Confederate monuments suit

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — A motions hearing in the Civil War monuments case is underway in Charlottesville Circuit Court, where on Tuesday, attorneys for the plaintiffs and defense asked the judge to throw out key parts of the case.

Motions for partial summary judgment from the plaintiffs and defense centered on whether the statues are war monuments and whether a state law protecting war memorials should apply.

In its motion for partial summary judgment, the plaintiffs asked Judge Richard Moore to rule that the statues are, in fact, war memorials.

If Moore rules in favor of that motion, it could mean a trial would only cover whether the defendants, including the city and five former city councilors, would be responsible for the plaintiffs’ attorney's fees and possible damages.

The issue of whether the councilors should have immunity and therefore be dropped as defendants is still an issue under final consideration.

Defense attorneys for the city and one former councilor, Bob Fenwick, filed a motion for partial summary judgment, asking the judge to rule that the state law protecting war memorials does not apply to the Charlottesville statues of Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.

The city’s Chief Deputy City Attorney Lisa Robertson argued that the city never approved the statues' installation as war monuments back in the 1920s when they were erected and therefore should not be subject to the law.

Moore has taken these motions under consideration but did make several comments in the courtroom suggesting he's leaning towards ruling that the statues are war monuments. He said he will review all information presented by both sides before making a final ruling.

The motions hearing will continue Wednesday.