White Supremacist Blogger Granted Bail

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Newark, NJ—A white supremacist blogger and Internet radio host who had threatened the lives of three Chicago-area federal judges has been granted bail after 119 days in federal custody.

Harold “Hal” Turner was released on $500,000 bond on October 21, 2009. He was ordered to remain on house arrest, and prohibited from using the Internet or speaking to the media, while he awaits his day in court. He will face charges which stem from a post he made on his blog, threatening to assault or kill three federal appellate judges. The judges, who have each served as chief judge of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, had recently affirmed a lower court decision to dismiss challenges to the ban on handguns which currently stands in Chicago.

On the website, Turner claimed that the men had violated the Constitution and called them “cunning, ruthless, untrustworthy, disloyal, unpatriotic deceitful scum.”

He was arrested in June. Although his attorneys had come to a tentative agreement with prosecutors to secure his release on $200,000 bail, on conditions that he would be confined to his home in New Jersey and prevented from using the Internet, U.S. Magistrate Michael Shipp initially ruled that bail would not be granted.

“I’m concerned about the danger to the community,” Shipp said, noting that federal agents had found a number of firearms and several hundred rounds of ammunition at Turner’s apartment.

Turner, 47, who wrote on his blog that the judges “deserve to be killed,” also posted information about the courthouse where the judges are based, including a map of the area. He promised to add maps showing the location of their homes to the website at a later date.

Also mentioned in the blog post were the 2005 murders of the mother and husband of U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow. A white supremacist named Matt Hale had been convicted the previous year in a plot to have Lefkow herself killed. Turner was questioned, but not arrested, in that matter.

“Apparently the 7th U.S. Circuit court didn’t get the hint after those killings. It appears another lesson is needed,” wrote Turner on the blog, according to prosecutors.

Turner had been scheduled to appear in federal court in New Jersey, but instead will be transferred to Illinois, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago. The charge he faces carries a maximum sentence of 10 years if he is convicted.

Turner has additionally been charged on unrelated counts of threatening Connecticut legislators.

 

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