LOS ANGELES — Three alleged members of a white supremacist group accused of inciting violence at California political rallies were cleared of federal charges after a judge found their actions amounted to constitutionally protected free speech.

Members of the Rise Above Movement were charged with conspiracy to commit rioting for using the internet to coordinate hand-to-hand combat training, traveling to protests and attacking demonstrators at gatherings in Huntington Beach, Berkeley and San Bernardino, prosecutors said. The group also posted videos to “celebrate their acts of violence” and recruit members.

Despite the groups “hateful and toxic ideology,” the Anti-Riot Act of 1968, which was passed during civil rights and Vietnam War protests, was too broad in regulating free speech, Judge Cormac J. Carney ruled Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

“Make no mistake that it is reprehensible to throw punches in the name of teaching (anti-fascists) some lesson,” Carney wrote. “Nor does the court condone RAMs hateful and toxic ideology. But the government has sufficient means at its disposal to prevent and punish such behavior without sacrificing the First Amendment.”

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The judge threw out charges against alleged RAM leader Robert Rundo and members Robert Boman and Aaron Eason and ordered them to be released from custody.

Prosecutors were disappointed with the ruling and reviewing grounds for appeal, spokesman Ciaran McEvoy said.

A fourth member of RAM, Tyler Laube, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge in November and admitted that as a member of the group he assaulted counter-protesters at a “Make America Great Again” rally in Huntington Beach in 2017.

The group used videos of the attRead More – Source

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