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Defense Wants Mistrial in Mi. Militia Case; Claims Prosecution Withheld Evidence

 

Hutaree members/southern poverty law center photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –– The federal trial involving a Michigan militia known as the Hutaree has raised questions about the right of free speech and what constitutes talk versus reality.

Defense attorneys claim the government has overstepped on the case. The government insists there was serious talk of killing a cop and trying to revolt against the government.

On Wednesday, the case got a little more complicated when defense attorneys asked for a mistrial, saying the prosecution of withholding evidence that might be beneficial to their clients.  There are seven of them on trial.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the defense said the evidence involved info it discovered last week. That info at issue was that the undercover FBI agent who had infiltrated the Hutaree was the handler for New Jersey, right wing, racist shock jock Hal Turner who worked as an informant for the FBI, helping collect info on hate groups and White Supremacists. The prosecution claims the info is not relevant to the case.

Turner, 48, was charged in June 2009 for writing Internet postings proclaiming “outrage” over the pr0-gun control, handgun decision  by U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer and wrote: “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed.”

His postings included photographs, phone numbers, work address, and room numbers of these judges. It also included a photo of the building they worked in and a map with its location, authorities said. He was sentenced to 33 months after being convicted. Jurors deadlocked in the first two trials, but the government prevailed in the third.

Turners defense, which apparently worked in the first two trials — or worked enough to raise doubts in some jurors’ minds — was that the FBI had encouraged him to take his racist rhetoric up a notch to help them with a case involving the murder of a Chicago federal judge’s family members.  The defense apparently felt that info might be helpful while cross examining the undercover FBI agent to see what, if anything, he might have done to encourage hateful rhetoric within the Hutaree group.

The FBI apparently thought the killer might be a white supremacist, Turner’s target audience. Perhaps Turner might be able to draw the person out.

So Turner said he obliged and said at the time the judge was “worthy of death”. Last summer, he posted on the Internet the photos of three Chicago federal judges who upheld a gun ban and wrote that they too were “worthy of death”.

 


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