Subpoena for messaging app Discord may reveal Charlottesville white supremacists' identities: report

A subpoena filed in court on behalf of counterprotesters who were injured in last year's "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., could potentially reveal the identities of the white supremacists who took part in the protest. 

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that attorneys filed a subpoena for the messaging app, Discord, with the goal of obtaining messaging and account information for over 30 anonymous users who may have participated in the rally that turned deadly. 

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Discord, which was launched in 2015, is an app that was used by white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other members of the alt-right movement, who hoped to keep their identities sealed, according to the Post. The newspaper added that the app allowed organizers of the rally to have private, invite-only threads that were shrouded in anonymity. 

Messages on Discord have now been cited in a federal lawsuit that was filed against the Unite the Right rally's organizers, according to the Post. Attorneys for the counterprotesters are claiming that the messages on the app show that organizers of the rally “conspired to commit acts of violence, intimidation and harassment.”

The Post reported that an anonymous woman, who was called “kristall.night,” filed suit seeking to quash the subpoena. But U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero declined that request. 

“While even limited disclosure of this information may create some chilling effect,” Spero wrote, according to the Post. “the protections available through a designation of ‘highly confidential’ mitigate that harm, and Plaintiffs’ interest in this information, which is relevant to testing their claims of an alleged violent conspiracy based on racial and religious animus, outweighs the potential harm to [Jane Doe’s] right to association.”

Spero did, however, say he would not allow the contents of the messages to be shared through the subpoena, arguing that this would violate the Stored Communications Act.

Kristall.night’s attorney, Marc Randazza, told the Post that he is still considering whether he'll appeal the magistrate's decision upholding the rest of the subpoena. 

The new report comes about a year after the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, where a man drove his car into a crowd of people, killing a 32-year-old woman.  

As the anniversary approaches, the city announced last month that it would shut down roads, parks and facilities as a safety precaution, The Daily Progress reported.