Brooklyn, NY – (http://family-of-hal-turner.blogspot.com) For the second time in three months, radio Shock-Jock and blogger Hal Turner has thwarted government efforts to convict him of threatening to murder 3 United States Judges. Jurors in the most recent case announced they were deadlocked yesterday, but returned to continue deliberations today.
Despite sending about 8 separate notes to the judge asking questions about the law and about evidence exhibits, Jurors once again announced they were deadlocked at 3:00 PM today.
The Judge called the Jury out into the courtroom and gave a modified version of the Allen Charge which instructs jurors how important a case is and that they should give further consideration to any fellow jurors who saw the facts in other ways. This instruction, under federal rules, is a last-ditch effort to help a jury come to a unanimous verdict.
In an extraordinary departure from the norm, Judge Donald Walter added a summary of the jury instructions to the Allen Charge in an effort to make clear the jury’s task. This hybrid instruction to the jury utterly failed to break the deadlock.
The hybrid Allen Charge was not the only irregularity in the trial. In fact, the second trial was skewed from the start by Judge Walter. Instead of allowing both the government and the Defense to give opening statements one-after-the-other, Judge Walter ordered the defense to wait until the government’s case was over before allowing them to give an opening statement. This served to bolster the government’s case by slanting the first half of the trial in the government’s favor.
Another strange alteration of trial procedure was an order by Judge Walter forbidding the Defense from mentioning Hal Turner’s role as an Intelligence Operative for the FBI unless Turner himself took the Witness stand. This requirement would have gutted the defense unless Turner testified; but Turner took to the stand with gusto.
Trial turned Slugfest
In a brutal two-day cross examination by Assistant US Attorney William Hogan, Turner absolutely shined. Time after time, as Hogan tried to paint Turner as a liar and a man who was simply wrong about the laws regarding freedom of speech, Turner let loose with responses that utterly destroyed Hogan’s line of questioning.
At times, the interactions between Hogan and Turner became so intense that the Judge had to warn both men “this is not a high school debate. Everyone will keep their voices down.” Despite that admonishment, both men engaged each other with a tenacity seldom seen in any American courtroom.
At times, Hogan became so flustered by the verbal beating being dished out by Turner, that Hogan fumbled for papers at the Prosecution lectern and was even seen talking to himself! If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, Hogan repeatedly found himself being told to “shut up” or “sit down” by Judge Walter. In one particularly amazing moment, Judge Walter told the Assistant United States Attorney “Mr. Hogan, sit down and don’t get up unless I tell you to.” The courtroom broke out in laughter as Hogan sat, slack-jawed, at the embarrassing rebuke.
In blistering responses to Hogan’s various accusations, Turner fired back with irrefutable facts, backed up by documents. Turner’s memory of events from years earlier foiled absolutely every attempt by the government to twist or manipulate the facts of the case.
After two days of hammering Turner over the content of his web site, it was clear to most observers in the courtroom that the case had become little more than a Bolshevik “show trial.” One courtroom observer remarked “This looks like the kind of trial we used to hear about in the former Soviet Union where the ruling regime put dissenters on trial.” Another attendee stated bluntly “This case is cloaked in legitimacy, but what the government is doing stinks like a whorehouse at low tide.”
The government was clearly trying to prosecute Turner for the ideology espoused on his web site and its raucous racial content. In fact, every piece of the government’s “evidence” had absolutely nothing to do with the charge against Turner. None of the web postings or e-mails brought-up on cross examination, had anything to do with the three judges Turner was accused of threatening. Clearly, the jury saw through the scam and instead focused on the blog posting that initiated the charges against Turner.
The prosecution began over an editorial Turner published last June which criticized three federal judges who violated the US Constitution and who ignored a recent US Supreme Court ruling. The editorial called the Judges "traitors" and said they "deserve to be killed."
The government claims that "deserve to be killed" is a threat to actually go kill them. Hal Turner says "deserve" is an opinion; protected free speech.
Jurors Gagged but speak out anyway
According to two jurors who sat on the case, the final vote was ten to two in favor of acquittal. The Jurors, who demanded anonymity because the Judge ordered them to stay away from the media, were incensed by that instruction. “When the judge first gave us the case, his written instructions said we could not tell anyone our vote until after the case was over. But when we finally came to the end, the Judge came in and specifically told us we were not to talk to the media,“ said One Juror.
The other Juror echoed those sentiments saying “The real reason they don’t want us talking to the media is because the prosecution lost so badly. They don’t want anyone to know their case was shit.”
Both Jurors confirmed that the two hold-outs were members of the jury who took great offense to one particular posting on Turner’s web site from the year 2008. In that posting, offered as “evidence” by the prosecution, Turner suggested the inauguration of Barack Obama “looked like a scene from planet of the apes.”
Historic Appearances by 3 Judges – Backfires!
Making this mistrial even more spectacular was the testimony of three United States Appellate Court Judges. The same judges Turner is accused of threatening. This trial marked the first time in the history of the United States that three sitting judges took the witness stand to testify against a defendant. It back-fired.
One Juror said “they let those judges come into court from a special side door instead of all the other witnesses who came and went like everyone else. It was clear to us that the judges were getting special treatment and that was just unfair to the Defendant.” The other Juror who spoke with us said “The judges were pompous and arrogant. The one guy (Judge Posner) actually whined about having to be in court – as though we weren’t good enough for him to be bothered with” she said.
All three judges took the stand and claimed they believed Turner’s editorial was a threat to murder them. But each looked like a complete fool when defense attorneys elicited that not one judge asked for protection from the US Marshal Service.
As the mistrial was declared, Turner was assigned a federal public defender because this case has sent him into Bankruptcy. Terms of Turner’s release from prison prevent him from working. He is under house arrest, forbidden to speak to the media or even to discuss his case with anyone but his immediate family. In fact, the only difference between the bail restrictions on Hal Turner and those imposed on Mafia Boss John Gotti is that Gotti had to post $4 Million bail while Turner got out on $500,000. All the other terms of Turner’s release are as severe as those on John Gotti.
A third trial for Hal Turner is tentatively scheduled to begin April 12.
Turner remains free on $500,000 bail as the government scrambles to cover their second dismal showing.