Thursday, June 25, 2009

Blogger Busted for Alleged Death Threats to Judges

Dirksen Federal BuildingImage via Wikipedia

FBI agents in North Bergen, N.J, yesterday arrested controversial Internet radio host and blogger Hal Turner for allegedly posting death threats against three judges sitting on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Turner was scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate in Newark, N.J., today, but will be tried in Chicago following a criminal complaint issued in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois charging him with threatening to assault and murder three federal judges with intent to retaliate against them for performing official duties. If convicted, the 47-year-old Turner faces a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison, according to a press release from the office of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Authorities claim Turner was upset by the appellate court's unanimous decision on June 2 in National Rifle Assn. v. Chicago (No. 08-4241, 08-4243, 08-4244) that upheld a trial judge's dismissal of challenges to handgun bans in Chicago and suburban Oak Park, Ill. The opinion was written by Judge Frank Easterbrook, who allegedly was targeted by Turner, along with Judge Richard Posner and Judge William Bauer, who joined in the decision.

The criminal complaint alleges that on June 2, Turner wrote a Web post entitled "OUTRAGE: Chicago Gun Ban UPHELD," that discussed the decision and allegedly stated: "These judges deserve to be killed." The post alluded to another 7th Circuit case involving the murder of a judge's spouse and mother, allegedly stating: "Apparently, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court didn't get the hint after those killings. It appears another lesson is needed."

According to authorities, on June 3, Turner 's blog included an item listing the names, photos, work address, room numbers, and telephones numbers of the three judges, along with a photo of Chicago's Dirksen Federal Courthouse modified with arrows marking anti-truck bomb barriers.

Earlier this month, Turner was arrested in N.J. by Connecticut State Police and charged with the felony of inciting injury to persons based on blog postings that allegedly called for violence against two Connecticut lawmakers and a state official.
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  1. I'm really impressed that you went all the way to Chicago just to draw the federal courthouse for your blog. That's real dedication.

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