Today, FBI agents went to the New Jersey home of white supremacist blogger/radio host Hal Turner and arrested him “on a federal complaint filed in Chicago alleging that he made internet postings threatening to assault and murder three federal appeals court judges in Chicago in retaliation for their recent ruling upholding handgun bans in Chicago and a suburb,” according to a statement released by the Justice Department. A summary of Turner’s dangerous tirade against the judges:
Internet postings on June 2 and 3 proclaimed “outrage” over the June 2, 2009, handgun decision by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, further stating, among other things: “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed.” The postings included photographs, phone numbers, work address and room numbers of these judges, along with a photo of the building in which they work and a map of its location.
Turner’s posts also “referred to the murder of the mother and husband of Chicago-based federal Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow in February 2005,” saying, “Apparently, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court didn’t get the hint after those killings. It appears another lesson is needed.” In the Justice Department statement, U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald — who announced the charges — said, “We take threats to federal judges very seriously. Period.”
Turner is already in trouble with the law. Earlier this month, he turned himself in to the Connecticut State Police on charges of “inciting violence” against three state officials. He urged his audience to “take up arms” because he was reportedly “angry over legislation that would have given lay members of Roman Catholic churches in Connecticut more control over their parish’s finances.” Turner’s next court appearance in this case is on July 14.
As the Nation has pointed out, Turner has ties to Fox News’ Sean Hannity. In fact, Hannity has “offered his top-rated radio show as a regular forum for Turner’s occasionally racist, always over-the-top rants.” Hannity would also reportedly offer Turner “encouragement” to overcome his cocaine habit and “homosexual leanings.”
Turner’s arrest comes after two major tragedies put the spotlight on the dangers of right-wing extremism: the Holocaust Museum shooting by white supremacist James von Brunn and the assassination of Dr. George Tiller.