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Posner Admirers Crowd Trial Over Blogger’s Online Rant Against 7th Circuit Panel

Posted Aug 12, 2010 7:02 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Three well-known federal appeals judges testified against a white supremacist blogger on Wednesday in his third trial for a tirade in which he said the jurists “deserveto be killed” and “must die.”

Judges Richard Posner, William Bauer and Frank Easterbrook of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals testified about their reactions to the rant by blogger Harold Turner, according to the Associated Press and the New York Times.

Turner’s Internet post had criticized a decision by the judges upholding a Chicago handgun ban. "Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges must die,” he wrote. “Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty."

Bauer testified that he viewed the rant as a threat, and he was concerned about commenters’ support for Turner’s ideas, the AP story says. "A great number of people thought it was a great idea," Bauer said. "I didn't."

Two other trials ended with hung juries. Turner has maintained he was a paid FBI informant who was heeding agents’ encouragement to flush out dangerous neo-Nazis and white supremacists. He is charged with threatening to assault or kill the judges to intimidate them in their official capacity.

Lawyers and law clerks were among the spectators. According to the Times, the crowd “seemed most starstruck” by Posner. One of his admirers was Kevin Turton, a summer intern in the Brooklyn federal court and a student at Brooklyn Law School who is reading one of Posner’s books. “He has somewhat of a celebrity status to us,” Turton told the newspaper. “I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see him in person, to see him react in a courtroom setting as a witness.”

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