Federal Judge Dismisses Charges Against Accused Members of White Nationalist Group

An Orange County federal judge has dismissed criminal charges for the second time in five years against accused members of a Southern California white nationalist group suspected of inciting brawls at political rallies throughout the state. U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney on Wednesday dismissed charges against Robert Rundo and Robert Boman, alleged members of the white supremacist group Rise Above Movement (RAM).

Rundo, who was extradited from Romania last year, is believed to be a founding member of RAM, which has been described in a federal indictment as a “combat-ready, militant group of a new nationalist white supremacy and identity movement.” Boman was also accused of being a member of the group.

In his decision, Judge Carney granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss, stating that Rundo and Boman were being selectively prosecuted while far-left extremist groups, such as Antifa, were not facing similar charges. Carney expressed concern that this selective prosecution could imply that the government condones physical assault on Trump supporters to silence speech.

While acknowledging that RAM members likely engaged in criminal violence, Carney emphasized that they cannot be singled out for prosecution based on their repugnant beliefs while others who committed similar acts of violence to disrupt political events are not held accountable.

Boman was already out on bond, while Rundo was still in custody. Prosecutors requested that Rundo remain detained pending the government’s appeal, but Carney denied the request, stating that he did not believe it was warranted for Rundo to spend any more time in custody.

Shortly after the ruling, the government filed a notice of appeal. The U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, which handled the case, has not yet provided a comment on the matter.

The federal indictment against Rundo alleged that he and other defendants recruited new members, organized training in hand-to-hand combat, and traveled to political rallies across California to attack protesters. Rundo himself is accused of not only orchestrating violent confrontations but also assaulting protesters and police officers. During a protest in Berkeley on April 15, 2017, Rundo allegedly punched an officer twice in the head after being ordered to stop attacking a person.

Rundo, believed to be the leader of RAM, was initially charged and arrested in October 2018 along with two other alleged members, Boman and Tyler Laube. Charges were previously dismissed in 2019, but a federal appeals court reinstated them in March 2021, ruling that parts of the federal Anti-Riot Act of 1968 were constitutional. The case was then brought back before Judge Carney.

Following the reinstatement of charges in January, Rundo evaded authorities by traveling through Europe while continuing to post images on social media, according to Bellingcat.

Author: CrimeDoor

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