Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Turner Takes Witness Stand In Own Defense In Hate Speech Case

Hal Turner is taking the stand today. He's accused of making threats against three federal court judges and the first trial ended in a mistrial. Prosecutors decided to have the threatened judges testify in the retrial along with additional evidence and conditions on the trial.
Turner, who built an audience of neo-Nazis and white supremacists with his radio show, is on trial here on a single charge of threatening three Chicago-based federal appeals court judges. The charge is based on a posting Turner made on his radio network blog last June in which he said the judges “deserved to be killed” for their ruling in a gun control case.

If convicted, he faces 10 years in prison.

In an investigative report last November, based on FBI documents, The Record outlined Turner’s secret FBI role in infiltrating the same groups who were drawn to his radio show and blog. Besides neo-Nazis, Turner said he made contact with the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nation.

In more than two hours of testimony before lunch, Turner described how he was recruited in 2003 by the FBI’s Newark-based Joint Terrorism Task Force. He said he was paid “in excess of $100,000” by the FBI during his almost five years as an informant.
All that time as an informant does not excuse his utterances of death threats against the judges. He wasn't on the FBI payroll at the time he made those statements.

It's little wonder then that Tom Metzger decided to drop by and disagree with my characterization of Turner as a hatemonger. Metzger's association with, and intimate knowledge of, hate speech is all too clear from Metzger's own background as the founder of the White Aryan Resistance, a grand dragon in the KKK, and spewing all manner of hate speech online.

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