On the stand, Cantwell claimed that he’d been “distressed” during the Aug. 11 rally and reiterated that he’d used his pepper spray to ward off attacks by protesters. He added that he’d lost track of the number of death threats he’s faced since the rally, and added that Woodard had been his fourth choice of an attorney after several others declined to take his case.
On cross-examination, Tracci asked Cantwell to clarify what kind of topics he spoke on in his capacity as a “shock jock.” Cantwell stated that his platform focused on “race relations” before eventually stating that he “do[es] a racist podcast.”
This prompted Tracci to ask if Cantwell was in fact a white supremacist, but Higgins sustained Woodard’s objection of the question, calling it irrelevant to the hearing at hand.
During further questioning, Cantwell said that if he was released, he would be able to stay in Virginia with someone he met during the rally but did not know very well.
The need to view the video was negated when Tracci then asked Cantwell to verify comments he’d been seen making in the video, which included claims that white nationalist groups had “shown restraint,” that Heyer’s killing was “justified,” that “more people are going to die before we are done here,” and that he and his cohorts had “gassed up those k---- and t-------.” Cantwell admitted to each comment, with slight revisions on some.
Asked whether he meant those comments, Cantwell again chalked them up to his “radio personality,” saying that his radio program was intentionally shocking and that “the purpose is to make money.”
“His business is to shock people,” Woodard said later in the hearing, further adding, “If he was a flight risk, he would have flown.”
After a long review of the evidence, Higgins said there were too many questions raised about the clashes to consider the self-defense metric raised by Woodard, and that while he may be a “shock jock,” his comments following the rally should not be ignored and “tend to show a certain level of approval of the violence that was used.”
She further noted that his living situation in Virginia was “simply too tenuous,” and ordered him held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail without bond. His next court appearance is set for Oct. 12.