FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2009
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
ATTORNEY MATTHEW POTTER
BECK & ELDGERGILL
BAILEY & OROZCO, LLC
BLOGGER FIGHTS INCITEMENT CHARGE
Hartford, CT – New Jersey talk-radio host and blogger Hal Turner appeared in State Court in Hartford today for a Status Conference in connection with charges of inciting injury to property or persons. Turner was charged by Connecticut State Capitol Police
(CSCP) on June 3 after he published an editorial on his blog suggesting Connecticut residents should “take up arms” against two state legislators and one other state official who Turner says misused their public offices to harass and attack the Catholic Church.
Turner published his opinion on his radio show web site on June 2 and promised to reveal the home addresses of the three officials the next day during his live radio show. That show did not air because New Jersey Police arrested Turner on a Warrant out of Connecticut which alleged Turner was a FUGITIVE FROM JUSTICE who had committed “Harassing Communications.”
Turner was jailed without bail as a Fugitive for five days until a New Jersey Judge released him because the Fugitive Warrant was FALSE. In those 5 days, Connecticut officials changed the charge to incitement. Turner was released on $25,000 bail in New Jersey, and then posted a second $25,000 bond in CT because state officials refused to accept the New Jersey Bond.
As a matter of law, Turner committed no crime at all. His web site posting was protected free speech under the First Amendment as interpreted by the US Supreme Court in the landmark case “Brandenburg v. Ohio.” In that case, the court ruled that all speech is protected as long as it meets the following two criteria:
1) The speech is not designed to elicit imminent lawlessness, AND;
2) Imminent lawlessness is not likely.
The court went on to define “imminent” as “the time necessary for law enforcement officials to arrive so as to keep the peace.”
Both prongs of the test above must be met before speech can be criminalized. Turner’s blog posting met neither prong and is thus protected.
Calling for citizens to “take up arms” via an internet web site does not lend itself to imminent lawlessness. The notion that people would read something on the internet and run right out with guns is absurd on its face.
The fact that home addresses were to be given out more than 24 hours later during a radio show left ample time for police to resort to other means. They could have deployed a protective detail to the homes of the three officials. They could have sought a restraining order. The CSCP did neither.
Instead, they issued a false fugitive warrant to arrest Turner for a crime that had not yet taken place! No one was incited to do anything and no one could have been incited because no addresses had yet been given out. As such, the arrest was unlawful “prior-restraint” of free speech.
As a result, Turner has instructed his legal team to make a criminal referral to the United States Attorneys office asking for an investigation into whether the actions of CSCP Officer Timothy Doyle, CSCP Chief Fallon and two state legislators violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 242: “Deprivation of rights under color of law.” If the US Attorney finds a violation too place, those officials could face federal felony charges.
Whether or not the US Attorney takes action, Turner’s legal team is confident the charge against him will be dismissed before trial. They have good cause to be confident. It turns out that Hal Turner was a highly trained intelligence operative for the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) from 2003 through 2008 and actually contributed to the FBI’s mission starting back in 1993.
In that role, Turner was highly trained as to exactly what speech was lawful and what was not. He was “tasked” by the JTTF to use fiery rhetoric so as to flush-out crazies before they attacked. It was a very successful intelligence operation that netted more than 100 federal subjects, averted at least ten acts of violence and resulted in numerous arrests.
The defense plans to introduce memos from the United States Attorney Generals John Ashcroft, McClusky and later Alberto Gonzales which laid out the relationship between Turner and the government. They will also produce FBI memos, pay sheets showing the FBI budgeted $100,000 or more per year for Turner, and correspondence between the FBI and then-U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Christopher Christie detailing the training, pay and operating parameters of the intelligence operation code named “Valhalla.”
Christ Christie was elected Governor of New Jersey earlier this month, and his involvement in this FBI operation could prove to be his first scandal.
FBI memos describe Turner as “irreplaceable” and go on to say his being with the JTTF is “. . . . .crucial . . . . .to the prevention of domestic terrorism and lone wolf attacks in the United States.”
In the years Turner served the FBI he uncovered Narcotics funding of terrorist groups, unlawful manufacturing and distribution of silencers for hand guns, he stopped the black market sale of Military Hardware used in Stealth aircraft, located a pipe bomb maker, prevented the arson-murder of a Jewish college student in Tennessee and much more.
He achieved this by portraying himself as a radical, racist “bad boy” on the radio. Turns out, it was all an FBI front.
According to the law and the facts of the case, the state’s chances of prevailing in this matter are exactly zero. Turner expects to be cleared and may sue both the state and the individual officers for false arrest, false imprisonment, executing a false fugitive warrant, and a host of other civil claims.