White nationalist held on Charlottesville charge granted bond

Published: Dec. 5, 2017 at 12:15 PM EST
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A white nationalist who says he pepper-sprayed a demonstrator in self-defense on the campus of the University of Virginia has been granted bond.

37-year-old Christopher Cantwell of Keene, New Hampshire, was given $25,000 secured bond at a hearing Monday in Albemarle Circuit Court. He will have home electronic monitoring and must stay in Virginia.

Cantwell will not be released until he can find a court-approved home in Virginia, because the bond conditions require Cantwell to stay in a residence, not a hotel.

Elmer Woodard, his attorney, said that residence may be Woodard's own personal RV.

Cantwell is charged with malicious bodily injury. University of Virginia police obtained a warrant after Cantwell allegedly pepper-sprayed a counter-demonstrator on Aug. 11, the day before the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville ended in deadly violence.

The white nationalist with an online following gained infamy in the Vice News documentary about the events of Aug. 11 and 12. He was initially charged with three felonies, but in November, two of those were dropped, leaving a single felony count of illegal use of a chemical. On Monday, Cantwell was indicted on that charge, and the grand jury issued a direct indictment for a second count of the same charge.

Cantwell earlier told The Associated Press he pepper-sprayed a demonstrator in self-defense.

Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Tracci urged the court to deny bond, citing online comments that prosecutors said show his continued threat to public safety.

But Woodard argued that the fact that his client voluntarily turned himself in proves he is not a flight risk.