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FBI’s racist shock jock Hal Turner convicted of threatening judges

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A US Internet radio host was convicted Friday of threatening to assault and kill three judges who upheld a ban on handguns in Chicago, the US Justice Department said.

Hal Turner, 47, was arrested in June 2009 for an Internet posting that said of the three federal judges who had upheld Chicago’s handgun ban, “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed.”

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His post included photos of the three men, Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, as well as their phone numbers and work addresses.

All three judges testified during his trial, which was held in New York after Chicago judges recused themselves.

Prior to the trial, it was disclosed that Turner was a well-paid informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), pulling in over $100,000 from the government in just five years time.

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. He was first outed as an FBI informant in July, 2008, when unknown hackers broke into the racist agent provocateur’s e-mail and discovered a message to a bureau handler discussing an alleged plot to kill Sen. Russ Feingold.

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Turner ceased broadcasting in 2008 and insisted up through his trial that he was “a deep undercover intelligence operative.” He now faces up to 10 years in prison for threats to assault and murder the men in retaliation for their performance of official duties.

“There is no place in society for threatening federal judges with violence. Period. We are grateful that the jury saw these threats for what they were and rejected any notion that they were acceptable speech,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Stephen C. Webster contributed to this report.

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