CHICAGO—Hal Turner, an intermittent internet radio talk show host and blogger, was arrested today by FBI agents at his home in North Bergen, N.J., 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.
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, 47, of North Bergen, N.J., was arrested this morning after FBI agents went to his residence to execute a search warrant. He was charged with threatening to assault and murder three federal judges with intent to retaliate against them for performing official duties in a criminal complaint filed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago. He is scheduled to have an initial court appearance at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Shipp in U.S. District Court in Newark.
“We take threats to federal judges very seriously. Period,” said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, who announced the charges with Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Amanda Terkel at Think Progress has more details.
There is at least a touch of irony here: Turner's previous threats involving Judge Lefkow were referenced in these posts. Turner wrote:
“Apparently, the 7th U.S. Circuit court didn’t get the hint after those killings. It appears another lesson is needed.”
Some of us wondered if Turner hadn't crossed the line into issuing real threats back in 2005. Now it appears the FBI has decided he has.
This is welcome news, but it's probably long overdue.
Now if only the FBI would take threats against abortion-clinic doctors every bit as seriously.