In the apparent spirit of never-say-die, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago said Friday it plans to go after right wing-racist New Jersey radio host Hal Turner for a third time in August. The last two trials ended in a mistrial after the juries deadlocked.
“We expect to proceed on August 9th,” said Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Turner is charged with threatening the lives of three Court of Appeals judges in Chicago by posting their photos on the Internet and writing that they were “worthy of death”. The judges had upheld a gun ban.
A change of venue has resulted in the trials being held in Brooklyn.
Samborn declined to say what the jury vote was in the last deadlocked trial.
Regardless, prosecutors face an uphill battle.
The central problem is that Turner had been an FBI informant. And in the second trial he testified that back in 2005 the FBI asked him to take his hateful rhetoric up a notch to help them solve a case involving the murder of a Chicago federal judge’s family members.
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”.
So the bottom line is: Prosecutors will have to convince jurors that there’s a clear distinction between the threats Turner made as an informant and the subsequent threats he made when he was not.