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Hal Turner GUILTY: Blogger Convicted After Threatening Judges Over Chicago Gun Ban

First Posted: 08/13/10 06:44 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:20 PM ET

Hal Turner
Hal Turner

Conservative shock jock and blogger Hal Turner was convicted Friday for making death threats against federal appeals court judges in Illinois.

A New York City jury deliberated less than two hours Friday before finding Hal Turner guilty of threatening the judges, reportedly in retaliation for their 2009 ruling upholding handgun bans in Chicago and Oak Park.

According to a release from the FBI, Turner was arrested and charged in June of 2009 after expressing "outrage" over a handgun decision by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Let me be the first to say this plainly," Turner wrote. "These Judges deserve to be killed."

The FBI reports that Turner also included photographs, phone numbers, work addresses and room numbers of the judges, along with a photo of the building in which they work and a map of its location.

The three judges testified in Brooklyn Wednesday, saying that their staff told them about Turner's postings.

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, issued a statement about the case Friday:

"There is no place in society for threatening federal judges with violence. Period. We are grateful that the jury saw these threats for what they were and rejected any notion that they were acceptable speech."

Turner's defense had argued that his rants were "political trash talk" protected by the First Amendment.

Two previous trials ended in hung juries.

Turner, who was previously free on bond, was taken into custody pending sentencing, according to the FBI.

He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


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Filed by Jen Sabella  |