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Change of Plea Expected in Charlottesville Hate Crime Case

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - A man convicted in a deadly car attack on a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia is expected to change his plea to federal hate crime charges.

James Alex Fields Jr., of Maumee, Ohio, was convicted in state court in December in the death of anti-racism activist Heather Heyer and for injuring dozens more.

An online court docket updated late Tuesday says Fields is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville on Wednesday for a change-of-plea hearing. Fields pleaded not guilty to 30 federal hate crime charges in July.

One of the charges carries the death penalty, although prosecutors had not yet announced whether they planned to seek that punishment.

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.