NEW YORK (Reuters) - A right-wing Internet radio host was sentenced on Tuesday to 33 months in prison for threatening the lives of three Chicago federal appeals court judges after they upheld a local gun control law.
Harold Turner, 48, was convicted by a jury in August in Brooklyn federal court following two mistrials. He was arrested in June 2009 and charged with one count of threatening to assault or murder the three judges.
Turner used his radio broadcasts to target Judges Frank Easterbrook, Richard Posner and William Bauer of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago, who had upheld a local handgun law.
He said they had acted in “a manner so sleazy and cunning as to deserve the ultimate punishment.” He called for their murder and published their photographs and work addresses online.
“Turner’s harsh words about these targeted judges, launched by Turner to an audience containing members of violent and extreme groups, prompted the United States Marshal’s Service to assign protective details to many of the judges,” court documents said.
Turner, of North Bergen , New Jersey, worked as an FBI source between 2003 and 2007, U.S. prosecutors said, due to his “popularity with and access to white supremacist groups.”
But the relationship became “stormy” as Turner began to taunt and make demands of his handlers in exchange for sharing information, they said.
The case was presided over by U.S. District Court Judge Donald Walter, who sits in a Louisiana federal court district, after the Chicago court recused itself. Walter chose the Brooklyn locale for the trial.
Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune