FBI operative Hal Turner has been arrested for inciting violence, according to The Hartford Courant. Turner allegedly incited Catholics to “take up arms” and singling out two Connecticut lawmakers and a state ethics official. He was arrested by state Capitol police in Connecticut.
FBI officials, the same organization paying him to spout violent rhetoric, seized 200 rounds of ammunition as well as three handguns and one shotgun. In the federal case, Turner was denied bail
Turner was charged with threatening to kill judges and lawmakers and his attorney confirmed he was secretly an FBI “agent provocateur” paid to disseminate right-wing rhetoric. According to court documents, (.pdf) after a three-judge panel of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals upheld a Chicago handgun ban, he blogged that the judges should be “killed.”
“Almost everything was at the behest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Orozco said in a 45-minute telephone interview from New Jersey. “Their job was to pick up information on the responses of what he was saying and see where that led them. It was an interesting dynamic on what he was being asked to do.”
“He’s a devoted American,” added the lawyer, who claims Turner was paid “tens of thousands of dollars” for his service…
Michael A. Orozco, Turner’s lawyer said, “I don’t think he was a racist. He was doing a lot of those things at the behest of the FBI.”
Remarks on Turner’s blog “were a reaction to the recent controversy over a bill that would have changed the way the Roman Catholic Church is governed, taking power away from church officials and turning it over to lay members. It was pulled in mid-March following an outcry from Catholics across the state and questions about its constitutionality,” according to the newspaper.
“It is our intent to foment direct action against these individuals personally. These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die,” commentary on Turner’s blog stated. “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.”
Turner promised to publicize the home addresses of the Connecticut officials Wednesday night, but was taken into custody before that could happen.
Hal Turner is no stranger to controversy and has issued threats in the past.
In 2005, he publicized the names of three federal court judges. He posted the judges’ names and addresses on his Web site. “We may have to ASSASSINATE some of the people you elect on Nov. 7! This could be your LAST ELECTION CHANCE, to save this Republic… Sorry to have to be so blunt, but the country is in mortal danger from our present government and our liberty is already near dead because of this government. If you are too stupid to turn things around with your vote, there are people out here like me who are willing to turn things around with guns, force and violence. We hope our method does not become necessary,” Turner declared on the website.
On April 4, 2008, Turner encouraged violence against Lexington, Massachusetts school superintendent Paul Ash for establishing a new curriculum supporting gays and lesbians. “I advocate parents using FORCE AND VIOLENCE against Superintendent Paul B. Ash as a method of defending the health and safety of school children presently being endangered through his politically-correct indoctrination into deadly, disease-ridden sodomite lifestyles,” Turner wrote. He went on to provide Ash’s personal information, including his address.
Turner claims to be a white supremacist and nationalist. He advocates antisemitism, including rounding up and killing Jews. He has also advocated assaulting and killing African-Americans.
Hal Turner’s arrest feeds into the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to conflate Second Amendment advocates, “antigovernment” activists, and veterans with white supremacists. As Infowars reported , the DHS and “terrorism experts” are attempting to portray those maligned by the DHS as dangerous terrorists in league with al-Qaeda and a demented Islamic “thinker” who has proposed launching an anthrax attack on the White House.
In 2008, Turner was exposed as an FBI operative. “Hal Turner, rising in fame as the most blatant hate talk radio host, self-proclaimed neo-nazi, antisemite, racist who hinted at the need to eradicate Jews — turns out to have been fronting a typical FBI COINTELPRO sting operation,” writes Richard Evans. Hackers managed to gain access to his forum server and revealed correspondence with an FBI agent who was apparently Turner’s handler.
United States v. Turner
On July 28, 2009 in the case of United States v. Turner in Chicago, Turner pleaded not guilty to threatening to kill three federal appellate judges there and then sought his release from custody, saying he had been an informant for the FBI. The judge gave Turner ten days “to produce concrete evidence of Turner’s help to the FBI or federal marshals.” On August 11, Turner was denied bail again. The judge cited the fact that Turner, from his prison cell, recorded and posted on the internet a telephone conversation that included the names of his arresting FBI agents. The judge said that Turner’s act “tells me something about the disposition of Mr. Turner.”
His lawyer said the defense would use “Turner’s background as an FBI informant” and argue that he was “trained by the FBI” as “an agent provocateur” to incite people.” In late October 2009 Turner was freed on $500,000 bond, and was ordered not to use a computer or any device that can access the Internet. His trial started on November 30, 2009 and ended on December 4, 2009, with the defense opting not to call any witnesses. After two hours of deliberation, the jury announced it was deadlocked. Three days later the judge declared a mistrial, and a retrial was set for March 1, 2010. This second trial, overseen by Western District of Louisiana judge Donald Walter, was moved from the Northern District of Illinois to the Eastern District of New York: since the prosecution was to call the three judges to the stand, the defense felt that Turner would not get a fair hearing if the trial was conducted in the same city where the judges worked. A mistrial was declared on March 10.
In August 2010, his third trial began and on August 31, after three days of testimony, the jury found Turner guilty. On 21 December 2010, he was sentenced to 33 months in prison. Upon completion of his sentence, he was barred from participating in Internet or satellite radio programming for three years. In his sentencing memorandum, U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald made the following comment:
For years, Turner has engaged in a campaign of intimidation against public officials and private citizens alike. Even Turner’s arrest in this case failed to deter him. Turner continued his tactics by using intimidation against a key witness in the government’s case against him. All the while, Turner has displayed defiance and no regret for his actions. Turner remains utterly incapable of acknowledging the genuine fear experienced by his innumerable victims – that is, except when he is the victim of a perceived threat. Turner has committed a serious crime, engaged in witness intimidation, lied repeatedly under oath, and has shown no regret whatsoever.
After his conviction, Turner was incarcerated in the Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn, and was later moved to the Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute. In May, he sent letters to The Jersey Journal saying he is one of 38 people housed in Communication Management Unit in the prison Terre Haute with terrorists, like John Walker Lindh, and fears for his life once fellow prisoners find out he was a government informant.
During his incarceration, Turner declared bankruptcy, and his wife filed for divorce.
In August 2011, Turner filed an appeal for his conviction. He claimed that the government “failed to substantiate the charge” and asked to be released pending the appeal.
Connecticut v. Turner
In July 2009 the Connecticut case was handed to a division of the state court that handles more serious matters. In early February 2011, Turner appeared in a Hartford court for the Connecticut v. Turner pre-trial hearing on three counts of inciting injuries to persons. The three felony counts Turner faced each carried one to 10 years in prison.
In late February 2011, the federal government reported that e-mails “show it appears Turner plans to pursue judicial and law-enforcement officials after he’s released from prison.” On February 2, Turner wrote “when I get out, I’m gonna go after some ‘problems’ and take care of them in a manner that will be horrific.”
On March 25, 2011, Turner appeared in Hartford asking the court to be allowed to change his attorney, telling the judge, “I have no confidence in his ability to defend me.” The judge reluctantly allowed him to change his private attorney for a public defender citing Turner’s unusually bad year. On April 7, with a public defender at his side, Turner pleaded not guilty and the case went to trial.
In July 2011, Turner’s public defender asked for the case to be dismissed, saying Turner’s statements were free speech and that Connecticut courts did not have jurisdiction because his threats were made in New Jersey. Prosecutor Thomas Garcia responded that Turner himself wrote that his intent behind the writing was to “foment direct action” against the lawmakers “personally.”
In September 2011, Turner asked Judge Carl J. Schuman for permission to represent himself after disagreeing with his public defender, John Stawicki, about defense strategy. Judge Schuman agreed, but Stawicki remained as stand-by counsel. That same week jury selection began.
On September 16, 2011 after three hours of deliberation, Turner was found not guilty of “felony inciting injury to people and misdemeanor threatening.“ After hugging his family, Turner was “escorted back into custody” to continue serving his sentence in the federal case.
Turner was released from prison on October 5, 2012.