Brooklyn, NY -- Radio shock-jock Hal Turner delivered a stinging upset to the federal government today when Jurors in his criminal trial told the judge they were "hopelessly deadlocked."
Expecting the jury vote to be lopsided in favor of the government, prosecutors and the judge in the case were utterly stunned when it was revealed that Jurors had voted 9 NOT GUILTY to 3 guilty!
Making this even more stunning is that Turner did not offer any defense -- his lawyers called no witnesses and presented no evidence, but instead tore into the governments own evidence and own witnesses almost totally discrediting the government's case.
Turner was arrested by the FBI on June 24, twenty days after posting on his blog that three federal judges on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals were "traitors" to the United States who "deserve to be killed" for violating the US Constitution and for intentionally ignoring a recent ruling by the US Supreme Court.
The FBI charged Turner with "threatening to assault and murder" the three judges! Turner was held in federal prison for 119 days without Bail before being released on $500,000 cash only.
The government contends that saying the Judges "deserve to be killed" is a threat to actually kill them. Turner's lawyers argued that saying someone "deserves" anything is merely an opinion. Opinions, be they oral or written, are protected free speech.
Clearly, the Jury agreed since 75% of Jurors voted NOT Guilty.
In a troubling development, one of the Jurors who voted GUILTY was interviewed by the New York Daily News and revealed something startling: Instead of applying the law as he swore to do, the Juror told reporters "[Turner] "He's a publicity seeker and he wants to be a bigger force than he was. By acquitting him, he would become bigger and stronger." (CLICK HERE FOR THE NY DAILY NEWS STORY)
It is not the role of a juror to decide to convict someone for any reason other than for breaking the law. The fact that this juror admits that another reason drove his decision shows that political considerations came into play; something that is forbidden in Jury trials.
PROSECUTOR WHINES ABOUT THIS FAMILY BLOG
In another interesting development, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Hogan asked the court to gag Defense Attorneys from speaking to the media and also asked the court to order this "Family of Hal Turner" blog shut down!
The judge instructed Defense attorneys to stop talking to the media but declined to order this blog shut down.
"The U.S. Attorney is clearly ashamed of his ongoing vicious assault upon freedom of speech and wants to operate in secret" said one person attending today's trial. "That's how government
goons like to operate - in secret" she continued.
We are able to tell you that the most prestigious program in broadcast TV news, "60 Minutes" had a camera crew at the Brooklyn federal courthouse today while two executive producers from that show sat in the courtroom during Turner's trial earlier this week. The fact that the most-viewed news program in the world is interested in the shenanigans taking place in this case is a good sign.
We wonder what Assistant US Attorneys William Hogan and William Ridgway will do when they arrive at work one day to a "60 Minutes" news crew asking them why they are prosecuting an American citizen for uttering an opinion.
It ought to be fun to watch them try to squirm their way out of that on national TV!
JUDGE HAS SOME EXPLAINING TO DO TOO
What makes the Turner case so astounding is that federal district Judge Donald Walter who is presiding over the case, turned his back on more than 40 years of Supreme Court case law and allowed the case against Turner to proceed.
It is long settled in the USA that advocating violence is lawful as long as it is done in a context which does not lend itself to imminent lawlessness. That precedent was established in the case "Brandenberg v. Ohio" back in 1969 and has been rock-solid free speech case law ever since.
We suspect that "60 Minutes" might ask Judge Walter if he chose to ignore "Brandenberg" because his knickers are in a twist over the nasty remarks Turner made about his fellow judges.
Birds of a feather. . . . .
Hal Turner's trial has been re-scheduled for March 1.