Hal and his son leave the courthouse after a second mistrial is declared. The judge scheduled the next trial to begin on April 12th and cautioned Hal not to speak to the media. A public defender was also appointed since Turner had declared bankruptcy. (Photo from Carmine Glasso @ NorthJersey.com)
March 10, 2010 Update:
According to news accounts, Hal Turner was taken to the hospital this morning while experiencing chest pains. He was reportedly treated for a "chest infection" and released. The jury in his retrail is in its' third day of deliberations. MORE HERE:
ACCORDING TO NORTH JERSEY.COM THE JURY DEADLOCKED.
Gag Order or Not, You’re Fired
By A. G. SULZBERGER
Updated With the testimony over and closing arguments done, it would seem that Harold C. Turner would have little to do except wait for a federal jury to decide whether he was guilty of threatening the lives of three appellate court judges.
But Mr. Turner, an incendiary radio host on the Internet, is not known for quiet reflection — even with a court-imposed gag order.
As the jury was deliberating Tuesday morning, Mr. Turner unexpectedly announced the firing of his lawyers. The decision, which will go into effect after the resolution of the case, was announced without further explanation in United States District Court in Brooklyn.
In the hallway outside the courtroom, Mr. Turner put his hands in the air and said he could not comment, citing the gag order imposed. “I cannot communicate with the media,” he said. “It’s not you and they’re not fired.”
However his two lawyers — Nishay K. Sanan and Michael A. Orozco — confirmed that they received a letter early Tuesday morning in which Mr. Turner announced his intention to part ways. The lawyers have represented him since shortly after his arrest last summer, but Mr. Turner cited his desire to have fresh eyes on the case.
“Win, lose or draw, we’re done,” Mr. Sanan said.
This is the second trial of Mr. Turner on charges stemming from writing an explosive blog post on his Web site, in which he posted the photos of three judges with the United States Court of Appeals in Chicago. The judges had upheld a law banning handguns, and Mr. Turner wrote, among other things, that they were “worthy of death.” He faces up to 10 years if convicted.
The case was moved from Chicago so that Mr. Turner would not face trial in the same building where the three judges work. The first trial ended in a hung jury.
In the late afternoon on Tuesday, jurors sent Judge Donald E. Walter a note advising that they were “unable to come to an agreement and are convinced that we will not ever be able to make a unanimous decision.”
Judge Walker told the jury to continue deliberations. Defense attorneys for Mr. Turner moved for a mistrial.
About an hour later, jurors sent a second note saying the group was “confident we will not align on a decision” by 5 p.m., and asked to be discharged and return on Wednesday to continue deliberations.
During closing arguments on Monday, Mr. Sanan sought to portray Mr. Turner, who had worked as a confidential informant for the F.B.I., as someone who had followed the instructions of his handlers to help the government gather information about white supremacist groups, who comprised the core of his audience.
Dismissing the prosecutors’ depiction of Mr. Turner as a dangerous purveyor of violent and vehemently racist rhetoric who finally crossed the line with his comments about the judges, Mr. Sanan described Mr. Turner as a radio shock jock like Don Imus or Howard Stern. “To give your opinion is not a crime; to give it vehemently is not a crime,” he said.
Mr. Sanan, who is of Indian descent, and Mr. Orozco, who is of Puerto Rican descent, said that race did not play a role in their dismissal. “He is not a racist,” said Mr. Orozco.