Will coronavirus threat mean bail for white nationalist in York County SC jail?

Will coronavirus threat mean bail for white nationalist in York County SC jail?
Judge Dan Hall denied bond to white nationalist Augustus Invictus on Friday at the Moss Justice Center in York. He’s charged with kidnapping his wife and kids at gunpoint. (Source: Photo by Tracy Kimball/ Rock Hill Herald)

YORK, S.C. (Andrew Dys/ Rock Hill Herald) - The only court hearings in York County, S.C., the past two weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic have involved inmates in jail awaiting trial.

Friday morning Augustus Sol Invictus had a hearing at which his lawyers sought bail because of coronavirus concerns.

Invictus is charged with domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature and possession of a gun during a violent crime during a December 2019 incident in Rock Hill involving his wife.

Invictus, 36, is a former U.S. Senate candidate with ties to the alt-right and white nationalist movement and the deadly Charlottesville rally of 2017.

South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Dan Hall listened to arguments, said he would take the issue under advisement, and issue a written order next week.

Hall also is the judge who said in February that Invictus was a threat to public safety and a flight risk. Hall denied bond at that hearing.

But that was before coronavirus concerns and trials that have been postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Invictus, a lawyer, is a former U.S.. senate candidate from Florida who police have said in court has made online postings about violence and overthrowing American institutions. Invictus’ Twitter social media page states he is a candidate for president.

Invictus has issued social media postings about his treatment by authorities since being jailed in York County for more than two months, 6th Circuit Solicitor Jenny Desch said in court Friday. Invictus also has tried to circumvent jail officials ability to see correspondence that Invictus has sent out to “followers” of his politics by claiming the communications were attorney-client privilege, Desch said.

“The defendant continues to publish information from jail,” Desch said. “He is using this opportunity to spread information. The victim is in fear of pressure from the outside.”

Invictus has a disregard for people involved in the case and remains dangerous, Desch said.

Invictus was arrested In Florida on Dec. 30 on charges that included kidnapping based on a Dec. 12 incident in Rock Hill. Invictus was extradited back to South Carolina where he has been jailed without bond. The kidnapping charge was dismissed last month by a different judge.

Desch said in court Friday Invictus choked and held a gun to his wife’s head during the Dec. 12 incident. The Herald is not naming the wife.

Desch said in court Invictus forced his wife to drive to Florida after she was beaten. Invictus still had the gun during the drive, according to prosecutors.

Invictus said after his December arrest in a previous court hearing he is innocent and will be cleared of all charges.

His lawyer, 16th Circuit assistant public defender Jeff Zuschke, saidin court Friday that Invictus does operate an “alt-right news site” and has updated that site while in jail.

“He does have some followers,” Zuschke said in court. “He has published his views in a three-part series.”

Although the name of the web site was not named in court, the web site https://therevolutionaryconservative.com has published InvInvictus’ statements while jailed. The site also has published photos of previous Invictus court hearings.

Zuschke said Invictus has rights as an American citizen who has not been convicted of any crime.

Each case over the past two weeks that has been heard in York County court was considered an emergency hearing due to fears that a high number of jail inmates could be dangerous if the virus and Covid-19 infections hits the jail population, court officials told The Herald earlier this week.

There have been no coronavirus cases reported at the jail, York County officials said.

Zuschke said in court Friday he asked for the hearing because of coronavirus concerns at the jail.

“He deserves a bond,” Zuschke said. ‘He denies these charges and says he is innocent and wants a trial to show it.”

Invicvtus was present in court Friday but did not speak other than to identify a timeline for the judge about when he was arrested in December in Florida. He has been in jail in York County since early January.

Invictus faces as much as 20 years in prison if convicted of the domestic violence charge and five years on the gun charge under South Carolina law.

No trial date has been set because of coronavirus effects on court scheduling, court testimony showed Friday.

‘UNITE THE RIGHT’ RALLY SPEAKER

Invictus spoke at the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. One woman was killed and several people were hurt when James Fields rammed his car into a crowd.

Invictus has acknowledged that he is friends with white supremacists and, though he denied his affiliation then, was praised and credited by white nationalist leader Richard Spencer as writing the first draft of the Charlottesville statement, according to the Miami Herald.

Invictus ran for Senate in Florida in 2016 as a libertarian.

Now an Orlando, Fla.-area attorney, Invictus runs The Revolutionary Conservative, a website marketed as an alternative to conservative media that “play the victim” and calls for a violent uprising, the Miami Herald reported.

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