Christopher Cantwell, a New Hampshire white nationalist who became infamous during the 2017 Charlottesville, Va., riots and has been dubbed 'the crying Nazi,' pleaded not guilty Thursday to extortion and interstate threat charges for allegedly saying he would rape the wife of a foe.
Cantwell, 39, was handcuffed and shackled when he was led into the Concord courtroom by U.S. Marshals. He was wearing a gray and black camouflage hoody and dark gray running pants. He stood next to his court-appointed attorney Eric Wolpin when he entered his "not guilty" plea.
Judge Andrea Johnstone ordered Cantwell held without bond pending a Jan. 28 detention hearing.
According to prosecutors, Cantwell sent an instant message through the Telegram Messenger app to an unnamed victim stating, "So if you don't want me to come and f--k your wife in front of your kids, then you should make yourself scarce."
Assistant U.S. Attorney John S. Davis said prosecutors have expected the trial against Cantwell to last four days. It has been scheduled for March 3 before Judge Paul J. Barbadoro.
Cantwell first gained notoriety after he allegedly pepper-sprayed two counterprotesters during the 2017 Charlottesville rally. Cantwell was profiled in a Vice News documentary about the disastrous events that unfolded in Charlottesville which led to the death of one counter-protester and injuries to several others.
Cantwell was mocked by people referring to him as the "crying Nazi" after he posted a video in which he appeared to be holding back tears when describing the aftermath of the demonstrations and how it affected him. In that case, Cantwell pleaded guilty to assault and battery. He also was kicked out of Virginia and warned not to return for five years.
Cantwell had a long history of posting threatening messages to people over social media.
In March, he wrote that he thought the Gab social media platform had banned him for a post after the deadly New Zealand mosque shootings in which he wrote, "I'm pretty sure it would be against the rules for me to say that would be mass shooters should find left-wing activists and gun them down instead of random people in mosques and synagogues. So I won't do that."
Last year, attorneys who filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit in connection with the Charlottesville rally asked a judge to order Cantwell to stop making "unlawful threats" against the plaintiffs and their lead attorney.
In a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville, lawyers for 10 people who were hurt during the two days of violence in August 2017 said Cantwell recently had focused "his hateful rhetoric" on attorney Roberta Kaplan.
They alleged that Cantwell, responding to an article about Kaplan in a Jewish publication, used an anti-Semitic slur on a social media website when referring to Kaplan and wrote that after she "loses this fraudulent lawsuit, we're going to have a lot of (expletive) fun with her."
Cantwell, responding to an email seeking comment on the motion to order him to stop making threats, used an anti-Semitic slur when referring to Kaplan and called the lawsuit a "(expletive) fraud."
Fox News' Andrew Fone in Concord, N.H., and The Associated Press contributed to this report.