White supremacist leader faces more charges

Chicago Sun-Times, June 26, 2003

Federal prosecutors hit white supremacist Matt Hale with new and more detailed charges Wednesday, including allegations that Hale appreciated violence done on behalf of his racist church because it focused media attention on him and his group.

The feds allege Hale falsely told FBI agents in May 2001 that he would tell them if he believed any of his members were going to do violence. The promise came after church member Ben Smith went on a racist shooting spree in 1999, killing two and injuring nine.

Hale, now in custody, was charged in January with asking a follower–secretly working for the FBI–to kill U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow. The judge had ruled against Hale’s World Church of the Creator in a civil case. On Wednesday, the feds added fresh details to that charge, as well as a new criminal charge, obstruction of justice. Hale allegedly lied to the judge in a letter in the civil case.

The new details provide context for the solicitation charge.

Hale allegedly told the cooperating witness he didn’t want to know any details about the attack to shield himself from being legally accountable. Hale, though, appreciated the violence “because such acts brought media attention” to him and his group, the feds say.

“I think it’s a good way to confuse all the issues and throw enough stuff up against the wall, so something will stick,” said Hale’s attorney, Thomas Durkin. “They are desperately trying to make enough allegations against a tremendously unpopular man to bolster what is in the final analysis a very weak case.”

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