Hal Turner operated on the fringes of radio – on shortwave and Internet streaming – but he drew national attention when he was indicted on charges he threatened to murder three federal judges in Chicago. Now his trial in a New York federal court has ended in a mistrial.
According to the New York Times, one of the jurors said the panel split 9-3 in favor of acquittal. That juror criticized the prosecution for not presenting much of a case, ending testimony after only three days in a trial which had been expected to last much longer.
The charges against Turner were based on a blog post in which he said the three judges deserved to die for upholding a Chicago handgun ban. His defense argued that the comments were protected by the First Amendment. In addition, Turner claimed that he should be shielded from prosecution because he had been a paid FBI informant – a claim which turned out to be true.
Despite the hung jury, federal prosecutors say they will try the case again. The new trial has been scheduled for March. Turner’s trial had been moved from Chicago to New York to avoid having it in the same courthouse where the three judges he’s accused of threatening hold court. A federal judge was brought in from Louisiana to oversee the trial.