Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday that the Charlottesville, Virginia, car attack could be prosecuted as a hate crime, saying that federal authorities “intensely” probing the case could ultimately decide to prosecute the driver in a number of different ways.
Sessions cautioned that no federal charges were imminent as officials are still conducting an investigation into the deadly attack that killed one woman Saturday and injured 19 others.
“It doesn’t have to be done immediately,” he told NBC News in an interview. “We will be working with the state to see how they will proceed with their charges. We could bring charges whenever the investigation justifies them. But I don’t think we should just feel like we’ve got to do it in a matter of hours or days.”
Local authorities have charged James Alex Fields Jr., 20, with second-degree murder, hit and run and three counts of malicious wounding. He is being held in a Charlottesville jail about two miles from the site where police say he crashed his car into a group protesting white supremacists and neo-Nazis who had gathered in Charlottesville.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Mark Berman