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Sentenced for making death threats on his blog

Dec 22, 2010 6:28 am
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Hal Turner, the former talk radio provocateur sentenced this week to 33 months in prison for hate speech."][/caption]Five years ago this past November, all eyes in the Hudson Valley turned to Kingston where a New Jersey radio talk show host put together a white supremacy rally to protest the ways in which a local high school case involving a student fight was moving through the courts. This past Tuesday, December 21, Hal Turner -- now a blogger after his radio shows were stripped from him -- was sentenced in federal court in New York City to 33 months in prison for making death threats against three federal judges in Illinois, according to a brief blotter piece in today's Daily Freeman. The case stemmed from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in 2009 by three judges that upheld a district court decision dismissing lawsuits that challenged handgun bans in Chicago and Oak Park, Ill. Turner protested the decision with inflammatory remarks posted online. Prosecutors say he crossed the line by declaring, “These judges must die.” Turner, meanwhile, had claimed his tirades were protected by the constitutional right to free speech. The case was eventually moved to Brooklyn based on a change-of-venue ruling. Two previous trials ended with hung juries. In Kingston 5 years ago, public worries leading up to Turner's rally were thwarted when more people turned out to protest the right-winger's protesters than Turner could turn out himself. Two years later, however, the local blogger who invited Turner into town, "Yankee Jim" Leshkevich, of Hurley, killed himself and his wife, a local teacher, during an online rage based, partly, on his earlier experiences with Turner's rally.