An Idaho attorney who once represented the white supremacist Aryan Nations group was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years in federal prison in the failed plot to kill his wife and mother-in-law.
Edgar J. Steele wanted the women dead so he could collect on an uninsured motorist insurance policy and be free to pursue a relationship with a woman from Ukraine, prosecutors said. He paid $10,000 in silver to another Idaho man who agreed to kill the women, authorities said.
Steele, 66, was convicted in May. He was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill in Coeur d’Alene.
Steele, who represented Aryan Nations and founder Richard Butler during the 2000 trial that bankrupted the hate group, has always denied trying to kill his wife, and Cyndi Steele continues to support him. He told the court Wednesday he was the victim of a government conspiracy because of his political views. He demanded that the judge release him immediately. [...]
Steele is well known in anti-Semitic and white supremacist circles as the attorney who defended Butler in a lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The human rights group brought the case on behalf of two people who claimed they were attacked by Aryan Nations security guards; Steele lost the case, and the white supremacist group was bankrupted by the $6.3 million damages awarded to the victims. [...]
In the years since that case, Steele has made speeches at white supremacist events and launched the website ConspiracyPenPal.com, where he published his views. He also wrote a book titled “Defensive Racism: An Unapologetic Examination of Racial Differences.”