Federal judge denies bond for neo-Nazi White
A judge called William A. White, who awaits trial in Roanoke, "a danger to the community."
By Laurence Hammack and Tim Taliaferro
The Roanoke Times
CHICAGO -- One week after he was cleared of using the Internet to encourage violence, a neo-Nazi leader from Roanoke, Va., learned Friday he must remain in jail while facing additional charges.
A federal judge denied bond for William A. White, saying he would pose a threat to the public if released.
The bond hearing in U.S. District Court in Chicago marked the latest effort by White to obtain pretrial release in what has become his free-speech battle with the federal government.
"Five judges have found him dangerous to the community while charges were pending," Magistrate Judge Morton Denlow said in denying bond. "This court believes those decisions were well-reasoned and thorough.
"The court believes he is still a danger to the community."
Denlow based his ruling, in part, on a post White made to his Web site in which he described waking up every morning with the urge to "kill, kill, kill."
White will remain in custody while awaiting transfer to Roanoke, where he faces additional charges of making threats by telephone and e-mail and through his now-defunct Web site, overthrow.com.
The 32-year-old white supremacist had been charged in Chicago with posting the name, address and telephone number of the foreman of the jury that convicted a fellow neo-Nazi. Prosecutors had argued that White hoped one of his followers might harm the man.
But a judge ruled that his actions were protected by the First Amendment.
In the Roanoke case, prosecutors say White picked people to threaten from across the country: a bank employee in Kansas City, Mo.; a human rights lawyer in Canada; a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist in Maryland; a university administrator in Delaware; a small-town mayor in New Jersey; and a group of apartment complex tenants in Virginia Beach.
Most of the comments stemmed from White's anger over racial issues, such as a column by Leonard Pitts about black-on-white crime.
White also is facing a lawsuit filed by the apartment complex tenants, whom he contacted after learning they had filed a housing discrimination case against their landlord.
In angry letters displaying a swastika logo, White called the tenants "whiny Section 8 n------" and wrote that the white community's "patience with you and the government that coddles you runs thin."
A Sept. 2 trial date has been scheduled in the civil case. But White's attorney has requested the trial be postponed until the remaining criminal charges are resolved.
At Friday's bond hearing, an attorney from the Justice Department's civil rights division read from White's online writings. In one post, White wrote that he had developed "a very intricate plot for the murder of about a score of Roanoke city's Negro nuisances and their annoying counterparts at The Roanoke Times."
Such writings "are the window into Mr. White's mind," Paige Fitzgerald said in asking that he remain locked up.
White, clad in an orange jail jumpsuit, reclined far back in his chair and occasionally shook his head while Fitzgerald read his posts aloud. His lawyers have called his online rants nothing more than political hyperbole that fall within his free-speech rights.
"I think it's disturbing," defense attorney Nishay Sanan said after the hearing. Sanan pointed out that the charge dismissed in Chicago is similar to the ones White faces in Roanoke.
"You got to really question when a guy sits for nine months for things that are not even criminal charges, and he's facing similar charges in another jurisdiction, that he still has to sit in jail," Sanan said.
laurence.hammack @roanoke.com 981-3239