Christopher Cantwell, a white nationalist podcaster who was featured in a Vice documentary about the 2017 Unite the Right neo-Nazi rally in Virginia, was found guilty Monday of extortion and threatening to rape a fellow white nationalist’s wife.
Federal prosecutors in New Hampshire said Cantwell, using the Telegram messaging app, threatened to rape a Missouri man’s wife if he did not give him personal information about the leader of the man’s white supremacist group.
Cantwell was also accused of threatening to expose the man’s personal information unless he gave him details of the leader of the so-called Bowl Patrol, a white supremacist group that derives its name from the haircut of mass murderer Dylann Roof. The jury convicted him on charges of extortion and threats to injure property or reputation, according to The Associated Press. Cantwell, who was acquitted on cyberstalking charges, faces a maximum of 22 years in prison.
Lawyers for Cantwell had defended his messages as merely “obscene” or “over the top” rather than genuine threats. Attorney Eric Wolpin claimed his client was merely frustrated over a harassment campaign by the group.
Prosecutors, however, said Cantwell “crossed a line” and intended to frighten the man into divulging the information.
“This was a serious threat that would cause a reasonable person apprehension,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Davis said Friday.
Cantwell, a resident of New Hampshire, pleaded guilty to assault in 2018 after using pepper spray on counterprotesters at the 2017 rally. He was barred from entering Virginia for five years as a result. In a separate action last year, lawyers in a federal civil rights lawsuit related to the rally said Cantwell has made unlawful threats against the plaintiffs.
After the Charlottesville, Va., rally, a video of Cantwell weeping at the prospect of being arrested went viral, with online commenters dubbing him the “crying Nazi.”