Brief recap: Hal Turner is the first Editor of an American media outlet to be jailed for an Editorial since 1798. The last U.S. Editor jailed for an editorial was Benjamin Franklin Bache, grandson of Benjamin Franklin, making Hal’s arrest truly historic.
Hal was arrested on June 24, 2009 after publishing an Editorial which was critical of the way three federal Judges violated the US Constitution and violated a recent US Supreme Court Ruling. Hal wrote that the Judges were "traitors" to the United States and were tyrants. He quoted Thomas Jefferson's "Tree of Liberty Letter" which said "The tree of liberty must be replenished from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots." Hal then wrote "Let me be the first to say this plainly, these judges deserve to be killed."
The government claims that saying the judges "deserve to be killed" is a threat to actually go out and kill them! Hal knows that saying someone "deserves" something is just an opinion; it is perfectly lawful free speech.
Based on what he wrote, the government charged Hal with "threatening to assault and murder three United States judges." This is an incredibly serious charge and defending against it is incredibly expensive.
Upon his arrest, Hal hired Michael Orozco, a partner in the law Firm Bailey & Orozco of Newark, NJ. Needless to say, this type of attorney does not come cheap. Thousands had to be spent to retain him.
Hal was arraigned in June but because he made a fund-raising appeal by phone to his radio audience, the Assistant US Attorney in New Jersey went ballistic. He mischaracterized that appeal as nefarious and the Magistrate Judge in New Jersey denied Bail pending Hal’s transfer to Chicago where the charges were filed.
Hal got to Chicago about 30 days later, having been held in federal custody in Newark, NJ, Oklahoma City, OK and finally Chicago. When he got to Chicago, Hal figured the government would have finally come to its senses, would have read his FBI records and realized it was the FBI itself that trained Hal in what was legal to say, and would have come to its senses. Sadly, that was not the case.
Instead of admitting their mistake, the government declared Hal a “high threat risk” and a “threat to government” and argued to Magistrate Martin Ashman in Chicago that Hal should be held without bail as a “danger to the community.” Stunned by this ridiculous and outrageous conduct, and having suffered a brutal media onslaught smearing him nationally, Hal instructed his lawyers to reveal his status with the FBI. This revelation – in open court - stunned Magistrate Ashman, who “continued” the bail hearing until August 10 so Hal could subpoena the FBI and prove he was no danger to anyone.
On August 10 when the Bail hearing resumed, the nationally-notorious Chicago corruption showed itself in all its ugliness. Despite having been served with Subpoenas, five members of the FBI failed to show up in court. Even more stunning, Assistant US Attorney William Hogan told Magistrate Ashman that no FBI people would be coming to the hearing because Hogan told them to ignore the subpoenas!
Instead of holding the FBI in contempt, and instead of Holding AUSA William Hogan in contempt, Magistrate Ashman halted the bail hearing without hearing any evidence or any testimony and ordered Hal held without bail. It was the single most astonishing shredding of the Constitution we’ve ever seen! Hal’s right to due process, his right to compel witnesses to testify on his own behalf and his right to bail were crushed as though they didn’t even exist. Hal was sent back to federal prison, to be held in solitary confinement inside the Special Housing Unit (the SHU) as a “high risk threat” and “threat to government.”
The SHU is a jail within a jail. It’s where prisoners are sent when they break prison rules. Prisoners in the SHU are confined 23 hours a day, 7 days a week. When Hal asked why he was being punished, the prison told him “you are not being punished, you’re being held in Administrative Detention.” Hal asked ‘What’s the difference between Administrative detention and disciplinary segregation for those who had broken prison rules?” He was told “Prisoners in disciplinary segregation are being punished; those in Administrative segregation are not.” It was actually the same treatment but the prison just CALLED one “punishment!”
To put this in proper perspective for you, the federal prison in Chicago has all sorts of real and dangerous criminals: Murderers, rapists, armed robbers, those who committed horribly violent aggravated assault, gang-bangers, drug king-pins and the like. ALL those prisoners get to come out of their cells for about 14 hours every day to watch TV, watch movies, listen to radio, read books, shower, use the telephone, use the rooftop gym to exercise, buy a full range of foods, snacks and beverages from the prison commissary. They could do all those things but HAL COULD NOT!
Hal was only allowed out to shower on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Unlike the murderers, rapists, drug king-pins, gang bangers and other criminals held in the same prison, Hal could not watch TV, could not watch movies, could not listen to radio, could not read books. While all those (real) criminals could call their families, Hal could not. Hal was only allowed to phone home once a month! While all those (real) criminals could go outside once a day to exercise on the prison rooftop, Hal could not. He was restricted to (literally) a “cage” in the center of the SHU. The cage is a 10’ x 20’ cage with a broken exercise bike and a pull-up bar inside. That was Hal’s 1 hour of “recreation” every day while he was in the SHU. While the (real) criminals in the same prison could order a full range of food, snacks and other items from the prison Commissary, Hal could not. He was forced to select from a restricted list, unable to even buy a pen to write home. While all those criminals could call their lawyers anytime they wanted, Hal could not. Hal was restricted to calling his lawyers only twice a week.
Seeing this corruption first-hand, seeing the brutal isolation being forced upon Hal, and realizing that commuting from Newark, NJ to Chicago was unrealistic, Hal’s attorney, Michael Orozco strongly recommended Hal add an additional lawyer to act as local counsel. Hal added Chicago Attorney Nishay K. Sanan to join the fight. Mr. Sanan cost thousands more to retain.
The lawyers went to work with gusto. With the corruption so obvious, Hal’s lawyers got all the federal Judges in the entire 7th US Circuit “recused” from hearing the case. No federal judge in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan or Wisconsin could be involved. Next, the lawyers got an honest federal Judge from Louisiana, designated to the case.
Once the honest Judge from Louisiana got involved, things turned in Hal’s favor. First, the Lawyers successfully argued for a change of venue. This is very rare in federal court cases, but thanks to good lawyers and an honest Judge, the case was transferred from Chicago to Brooklyn, NY. Next, Hal’s Lawyers appealed the denial of bail and the honest Judge granted the appeal.
After suffering solitary confinement 23 hours a day in federal prison and after being held for 119 days, Hal was released on October 21 after posting $500,000 cash, but remains under House Arrest, with an electronic monitoring bracelet, forbidden to speak to the media or use the internet. He has not been able to work since June.
Hal went on trial in federal court in Brooklyn, NY on December 1, but the trial ended in a hung jury that voted 9 to 3 in favor of acquittal (Not guilty). As such, Hal must go on trial AGAIN starting on March 1.
!!! SURPRISE !!!
Hal’s lawyers explained to him that the amount of work they had to do so far was enormous and a second trial means even more work. That means another round of legal fees!
The pending second trial means thousands more for lawyer fees, thousands more for air fare and hotels and thousands more for transcripts and copies.
Since Hal has been unable to work since June and is still under house arrest, money is a real problem. A mortgage had to be taken on Hal’s house to bail him out, so no money can be gotten there. Hal’s wife had to sell the house she inherited from her mother in law to help support the family, but that closing has yet to take place. The family savings has been utterly wiped out with legal fees from the prior trial, so Hal is in a huge jam.
Can YOU help?
Hal Turner brought real free speech to the radio. He allowed all of you to speak your mind on ANY topic without censorship. No other radio show EVER did that and none has done it in the months since Hal went off the air because of this case.
Hal Turner didn’t commit any crime. He threatened no one. Yet he has been totally financially destroyed by this gross abuse by the government. Betrayed by the very government he worked for; a government that is perpetrating a full, frontal assault on our cherished right to freedom of speech.
So once again, as we did when this first took place, we come to you, his radio fans, to ask for help. In the left column of this blog is a box where folks can “Chip-In.” You can use your Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover to make a donation. Every little bit helps.
YOU COULD BE NEXT
Hal has been through a terrible ordeal and still faces a major trial starting March 1. If the government can jail him for HIS opinion, how long will it be before they jail YOU for YOURS?
This fight affects ALL our rights. We must prevail against these politically-correct thought police. If we fail, how many of us in the future will end up in a federal jail cell? Think about it.
You may not agree with what Hal said, but will you defend his right to say it? Will you defend your own right to say things that others disagree with? Please help. Please make a contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, or more.
If you do not feel comfortable using a credit card, you can send cash, check or even anonymous Money Order to the P.O. Box address at the top of this blog:
P.O. Box 1103
Secaucus, NJ 07096-1103
This legal fight affects us all. We must protect freedom of speech for ourselves and our posterity. The fact that a US Attorney in Chicago could send agents out to New Jersey to arrest a blogger for something he wrote should frighten every user of the internet. This could happen to ANY of us.
The fact that a the nationally-notorious Chicago corruption resulted in Subpoenas being ignored, the right to due process being crushed, the right to compel witnesses to testify being crushed and the right to bail being crushed, is a cancer upon our nation that must be confronted. The US Attorney in Chicago is waging all-out war on freedom of speech and he is playing for keeps. He must be defeated and the case of Hal Turner is the mechanism to achieve that.
We ALL have to step-up to defend our net freedom.
The Founding Fathers are watching. Will you step-up and help?