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White Nationalist Faces Capitol Melee Assault Trial

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Police tape and protest signs at the state Capitol on Sunday, June 26, 2016, after violent clashes broke out between demonstrators and counter-protestors during a right-wing extremist rally.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

(AP) - A purported white nationalist has been ordered to stand trial on an assault charge from a 2016 melee at the California state Capitol that injured at least 14 people.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Sharon Lueras on Friday ruled that prosecutors have enough evidence to try 35-year-old William Scott Planer on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors dropped another charge of participating in a riot.

Prosecutors say Planer was among 20 members of the white-nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party rallying at the Capitol in June 2016 when he knocked a defenseless counter-protester unconscious.

Defense attorney Danny Brace says Planer was defending himself and others from 200 to 300 counter-protesters, three of whom face charges in a separate case.

At least 14 participants suffered stab wounds, cuts and bruises.

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