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'Crying Nazi' Christopher Cantwell found guilty of extortion in rape threat case

Prosecutors said Cantwell sent a series of threatening messages to find the leader of an online group who he believed was harassing him online.
Image: Christopher Cantwell
Christopher Cantwell at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 11, 2017.Vice News Tonight / via AP file

Christopher Cantwell, known for his involvement in the violent "Unite the Right" 2017 rally in Virginia, was found guilty Monday in a case related to a rape threat and extortion using the online messaging app Telegram.

Cantwell, 39, was convicted of one count of transmitting extortionate communications and one count of threatening to injure property or reputation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire. The jury found him not guilty of a cyberstalking count.

Prosecutors said Cantwell sent a series of threatening messages because he believed members of an online group called the “Bowl Patrol” had been harassing him online. Cantwell sought the leader of the group, someone who went by the name “Vic Mackey,” and harassed an unidentified individual for the information.

Cantwell threatened to “dox” the individual, a practice of posting someone’s personal contact information online, and report the person to child protective services in a number of messages between June 15, 2019, and June 17, 2019, the U.S. attorney's office said.

“So if you don’t want me to come and f--- your wife in front of your kids, then you should make yourself scarce,” one message said. “Give me Vic, it’s your only out.”

Prosecutors said they presented evidence during trial that Cantwell followed through on his threats to dox the individual and made a report to child protection authorities in Missouri.

The conviction should serve as a warning for anyone using the internet to send such messages, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray for the District of New Hampshire said.

“Sending threatening and extortionate messages over the internet can instill fear and emotional damage,” Murray said. “I am grateful to the jury for weighing the evidence in this case and finding that this defendant’s disturbing conduct was unlawful.”

Cantwell became well known after he was seen chanting “Jews will not replace us” in a Vice documentary following the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman named Heather Heyer was killed. He later earned the moniker “Crying Nazi” after he posted an emotional video over a warrant issued for his arrest.

He's also facing a lawsuit over his involvement in the rally, brought by the nonprofit group Integrity First for America. Cantwell is also accused of using the Telegram app to send threats to the lead counsel in the suit, Roberta Kaplan, according to IFA's Executive Director Amy Spitalnick.

"Today marks an important step toward accountability for Cantwell’s long history of violence and bigotry," Spitalnick said Monday. "It’s particularly powerful that this verdict was handed down on Yom Kippur — the Jewish day of atonement — against a neo-Nazi defendant who has made antisemitism central to his violence."

Cantwell, who has been in custody since his arrest in January, is scheduled to be sentenced next year. A public defender representing Cantwell did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.