Judge declares mistrial in ‘hate blogger’ Turner’s case
The argument about whether hate speech is protected by the 1st Amendment has been postponed.
“A judge declared a mistrial Monday in the case against a New Jersey blogger accused of making death threats against three federal judges in Chicago because they wrote a ruling supporting gun control,” the Associated Press reports.
“The mistrial came after the jury sent two notes – one during its first day of deliberation on Friday and another on Monday – saying it was hopelessly deadlocked over charges Hal Turner threatened to kill or assault a federal judge,” the AP report continues. “A retrial was scheduled for March 1 in Brooklyn, where the case was moved based on a change-of-venue request.”
“Let me be the first to say this plainly: these Judges deserve to be killed,” he wrote on his Web site, according to a June MSNBC report. “He included their pictures, phone numbers, work address and room numbers along with a photo of the courthouse in which they work and a map of its location, the FBI says.”.
The AP reports today, “The only juror to speak to reporters afterward, truck driver Richard Gardiner, said the jury voted 9 to 3 in favor of acquittal, with the majority seeing the government’s case as weak. He said he held out for a conviction because he ‘did think it was a threat.'”
The hate free speech argument is also set “to be continued” at Turner’s next trial.
As the Southern Poverty Law Center notes,
Although Turner is notorious for advocating the assassination of judges and elected officials in rants on broad topics like gun control and hate crimes legislation, the Internet call for violence that finally got him arrested dealt with a relatively obscure topic: legislation that would shift control of Roman Catholic Church affairs in Connecticut from the church to lay members.
“It is our intent to foment direct action against these individuals personally,” Turner wrote. “These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die.”
He added this warning: “If any state attorney, police department or court thinks they’re going to get uppity with us about this, I suspect we have enough bullets to put them down, too.”
State Capitol Police in Connecticut charged Turner with inciting injury to person or property, punishable by one to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Vowing to fight extradition to Connecticut, Turner was released from jail in New Jersey on June 10 after posting $25,000 bond.
Earlier this year, RAW STORY reported that the announcement that the white supremacist radio host Turner was an FBI informant, which his lawyer revealed in court was a confirmation of what hackers claimed nearly a year prior after allegedly gaining access to his e-mails.
“In July 2008, hackers — who may or may not be connected to 4chan — confronted Turner on his Web site’s forums and claimed they had gained access to his e-mail, uncovering a message allegedly to his FBI handler in which he takes credit for “flush[ing] out another crazy,'” Stephen Webster reported.
Ultra right-wing radio talk show host Hal Turner provided intelligence to the FBI that agents considered “irreplaceable,” according to emails reviewed for a lengthy investigative report published a few weeks ago, as RAW STORY reported.
Writing for NorthJersey.com, reporters Mike Kelly and Peter J. Sampson reveal that the bureau once even used Turner as an undercover intelligence operative in Brazil, where he informed on white supremacist group American National Alliance and met with a representative of the Brazilian Arab Society who sought to provide support to Iraqi fighters.
According to documents reviewed for the report, Turner’s FBI codename was “Valhalla,” which he sometimes wrote on the memo line of the checks the agency sent him.
Turner’s famously vile, racist broadcasts began in 2002, though the one-time Pat Buchanan campaign coordinator did not begin his relationship with the FBI until 2003, when he was recruited to attend a National Alliance meeting in West Virginia. When he finally stopped broadcasting in 2008, he was being investigated for making death threats against judges he disagreed with.
Turner’s lawyer, Michael Orozco, gave a different timeline than the North Jersey report, claiming in August that Turner’s relationship with the FBI began in 2002.