Brooklyn Trial Illustrates Tough Balancing Act Dealing With an FBI Informant

Hal Turner/msnbc photo
Hal Turner/msnbc photo
By Allan Lengel

The trial in Brooklyn federal court involving right wing racist Internet radio host Hal Turner illustrates the tough balancing act the FBI has to deal with when handling an informant who is less than an ideal citizen.

Turner is accused of posting messages last summer on his blog advocating the death of U.S. Court of Appeals judges in Chicago who upheld a gun ban.

But on Wednesday he testified at his trial that the FBI talked to him in 2005 about helping solve the murder of the family of a federal judge in Chicago and suggested he “ratchet up the rhetoric”. The FBI apparently thought the killer might be a white supremacist, Turner’s target audience, according to the New York Times.

He in turn posted a photo of the Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow with the statement “worthy of death”, the Times reported.

This past summer, he posted on his blogs that¬† the Court of Appeals judges in the gun ban ruling were “worthy of death”. His defense is essentially¬† that he was doing the same thing the FBI had asked him to do in the past. One of those judges testified earlier this week that he felt threatened by the posting on the blog.

Turner’s first trial ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked. That could happen again.

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