(http://family-of-hal-turner.blogspot.com) -- The United States Attorney's Office in Chicago has announced they will put radio show and blogger Hal Turner on trial for a THIRD Time. The latest trial date has been moved five months from April 12 to August 9 as reported by Tickle The Wire.com at: http://www.ticklethewire.com/2010/04/02/fed-prosecutors-plan-to-go-after-right-wing-radio-host-hal-turner-third-time-on-aug-9/
This announcement by the government violated a media "gag order" imposed by the trial Judge in the case. During the first trial, just before the hung jury was announced, Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) William R. Hogan specifically asked the court to remind the defense that no one involved in Turner's case was allowed to speak to the media. The court issued that reminder. When the jury came out and announced they were hung, that same AUSA, William Hogan, walked out of the courtroom and spoke to the New York Daily News which quoted him the next day!
Clearly the US Attorney's office doesn't care what the court wants because they know the Judge in the case won’t hold them accountable. If Hal Turner violated the court's order, he'd forfeit his bail and be thrown back in jail. The prosecution has now violated the court's order TWICE, with no consequence.
This fits a pattern of behavior which grows more troubling with each passing day.
During trial #1, both the government and the defense gave opening statements one after the other. Also during trial #1, during the government's case-in-chief, the defense was able to cross examine government witnesses about Hal Turner's role as a national security intelligence operative. Fair, right?
All that changed for trial #2. Just days prior to trial #2, Judge Donald Walter issued an order forbidding the defense from giving their opening statement until AFTER the government rested! In addition, the Judge forbid the defense from cross-examining government witnesses about Turner's role with the FBI unless the Defense also subpoenaed those same witnesses for the Defense case-in-chief. More stunning was Judge Walter's ruling that the defense could NOT present any evidence about Turner's role with the FBI unless Turner himself first took the witness stand! This forced Turner to take the stand despite the fact he was not required to do so in Trial #1.
If these benefits to the prosecution weren't good enough, Judge Walter ALLOWED the testimony of three federal judges; the very judges whose testimony he ruled as "irrelevant" in trial #1. In Trial #1, the prosecution made it a key part of their case that they did NOT have to prove Turner ever communicated with any of the Judge in order for the government to convict. In fact, Turner never communicated with any of the judges he criticized in the Editorial which caused his arrest.
Turner never made any phone calls to the judges, never sent any letters, faxes or e-mails to any of the judges and never paid them a personal visit. Turner merely commented in an online editorial that because the Judge violated the US Constitution and ignored a recent US Supreme Court ruling, they ". . . . . deserve to be killed."
The government claims that saying someone "deserves to be killed" is a threat to actually go kill them. Turner says that "deserve" is an opinion and is protected free speech.
In a stunning act of partiality toward the prosecution during trial #2, Judge Walter even went so far as to tell the Jury that he "has ruled Mr. Turner's remarks are NOT protected by the First Amendment." It was tantamount to instructing the jury that Turner was guilty!
In spite of all this case rigging, Jurors in Trial #2 were hung again and a second mistrial was declared.
Two separate and very different claims regarding the jury vote came out after trial #2. After the trial, two jurors from the case were seen in a nearby parking lot and they told Turner's family the vote was 10 to 2 in favor of acquittal. About two weeks later, the Judge in the case gave both sides a different vote tally, less favorable to Turner.
According to well placed sources, if the public were to add the number of jurors who voted for conviction in both trials, it still totals less than 12.
So despite the case rigging outlined above, Turner still didn't get convicted. This makes us wonder how much farther the case will be rigged for trial #3.
Hal Turner spent 119 days in federal prison without bail after he was arrested for his editorial twenty days after it first appeared on the internet. He was then released on $500,000 bail, but under house arrest, with electronic monitoring, forbidden to speak to the media or to anyone outside his immediate family about his case. He is also forbidden from using the internet.
As of today, the United States government has jailed, prosecuted and twice put on trial Hal Turner for nothing more than an editorial opinion. The draconian restrictions placed on Turner forced him into Bankruptcy and deprived him of his civil rights for more than 9 months. Today, we find out Hal must endure such cruel treatment for another 5 months until his third trial on August 9.
Tell us again how the United States is the “land of the free?” Tell us again how we enjoy “freedom of speech?” It’s all a fraud.