KKK leader found guilty of firing weapon at Charlottesville rally

Posted at 4:59 PM, May 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-08 16:59:46-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. A Ku Klux Klan leader from Maryland pleaded no contest to the charge of firing a gun near a school as he left the Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12, 2017.

Richard Wilson Preston, 53,  entered the plea Tuesday morning, the day before he was scheduled to stand trial, reported CBS 19.  After his plea was entered, prosecutors laid out the case they would have presented at trial. The Washington Post reported that immediately afterward, a Charlottesville circuit court judge found Preston guilty.

Preston was  charged after a video was released that was filmed by the ACLU of Virginia. The video allegedly showed Preston in a verbal altercation with counter protesters at the rally. In the video, counter protesters appeared to throw objects at right-wing marchers.

Richard Wilson Preston

After several seconds, the man in the video, who is wearing a load-bearing vest, with a pistol on one leg and extra magazines on the other, turns away from the argument and walks away. Before reaching the edge of the frame, he turns back, drawing a pistol and shouting “Hey, n****r.”

The man then fired a shot, before turning around, holstering his weapon, and rejoining the march.

Preston was charged with discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school.

Preston’s attorneys said he fired the weapon to protect his friends from someone with a makeshift flamethrower. No one was hit by the bullet.

Preston will be sentenced on Wednesday.

The CNN Wire contributed to this article.