TO ORIGINAL SOURCE
August 10, 2009
BY NATASHA KORECKI Federal Courts Reporter
A lightning-rod Internet blogger and radio host out of New Jersey was a paid FBI informant, once turned over a silencer to the feds and even passed on information about a threat against President Obama.
But none of that is enough to get him out of jail now, a federal judge ruled this afternoon.
U.S. District Judge Martin Ashman said Hal Turner — accused of threatening to assault and murder three federal judges — is still a danger to the community.
Ashman said the fact that Turner from his New Jersey prison cell managed to record and post on the Internet a telephone conversation that included the names of his arresting FBI agents “tells me something about the disposition of Mr. Turner.” Ashman denied Turner’s request to have FBI agents testify at his bond hearing.
Ashman’s ruling comes despite today’s revelation that the FBI paid Turner “tens of thousands of dollars” to work as an informant from 2002 to 2005. Last year, Turner told a U.S. marshal of a threat by someone to lob mortars into Grant Park during Obama’s election celebration.
Turner, 47, of North Bergen, N.J., is accused of attempting to instigate violence against three 7th Circuit judges after they authored an anti-gun rights ruling earlier this summer.
He posted a headline saying, “These judges deserve to be killed,” followed the next day by, “Judges official public work addresses and a map of the area are below. Their home addresses and maps will follow soon. Behold these devils.”
Turner posted the judges’ names, photographs, phone numbers, office address and room numbers, according to charges.
Calls for increased security and strengthened laws protecting jurists ramped up in 2005, after a disgruntled litigant broke into the North Side home of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow and murdered her husband and mother.
One of his lawyers, Michael Orozco, said Turner was nothing more than a “shock jock,” whose on-air rhetoric was out of line with the man who went home to his wife and family at day’s end.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Hogan called Turner’s role as an informant a “sideshow,” to the question of bond, saying Turner simply passed along tips and rumors to the FBI.
In one email sent July 26, 2007, Turner tells an FBI agent of his intent to turn over a silencer kit for a .22-caliber weapon.
“Just the other day we were laughing about how HQ thinks I’m satan incarnate,” Turner writes in the e-mail. “How the heck am I going to fulfill their fears if I go turning stuff like this in the way a law-abiding citizen does?”