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Internet Radio Host Case Tests Limits of Freedom of Speech

The Internet remains the wild west. Federal law enforcement is still trying to figure out exactly where the boundaries are for freedom of speech. Over the past few years, it’s been pretty much hit and miss.

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
CHICAGO — Internet radio host Hal Turner disliked how three federal judges rejected the National Rifle Association’s attempt to overturn a pair of handgun bans.

“Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed,” Turner wrote on his blog on June 2, according to the FBI. “Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty. A small price to pay to assure freedom for millions.”

The next day, Turner posted photographs of the appellate judges and a map showing the Chicago courthouse where they work, noting the placement of “anti-truck bomb barriers.” When an FBI agent appeared at the door of his New Jersey home, Turner said he meant no harm.

He is now behind bars awaiting trial, accused of threatening the judges and deemed by a U.S. magistrate as too dangerous to be free.

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