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Hale attorneys attack FBI, paid informant

Copley News Service, USA
Sep. 30, 2003
Mike Ramsey • Wednesday October 1, 2003

Defense contends government made effort to entrap white supremacist

CHICAGO – Matt Hale‘s defense attorneys on Monday launched their latest attack on the U.S. government’s murder-solicitation case against the East Peoria white supremacist.

Attorneys Thomas A. Durkin and Patrick Blegen contend that paid FBI informant Tony Evola went to unacceptable lengths in an effort to entrap Hale, leader of a racist organization formerly known as the World Church of the Creator.

Hale, 32, was arrested in January and charged with encouraging the killing of a federal judge who had issued a trademark-related order against his racist organization.

“Any reasonable minded person ought to be shocked at the conduct of the government and its informant in this case,” Hale’s defense team writes at the beginning of a 16-page motion to dismiss the solicitation charge and require the feds to share additional information.

The attorneys say the government placed Evola in Hale’s organization soon after Hale disciple Benjamin Smith went on a deadly July 1999 shooting rampage and kept the mole in place for more than three years when authorities “no longer had a reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct.”

Evola repeatedly advised Hale that church members who had double-crossed him should be harmed, defense attorneys said. They offered several pages of transcripts of FBI-recorded conversations in which Hale is purportedly cool to the idea of violence against his enemies.

“I’m going to have to say no to this,” Hale is quoted as saying in a January 2001 conversation.

Evola, who became Hale’s chief of security, volunteered to secretly infiltrate the World Church “after having been upset over receiving unsolicited racist literature in the mail,” according to the defense motion. The attorneys seek more information about his motivations and his arrangement with the FBI.

The federal government tells a different story about Hale. Prosecutors say he not only sanctioned violence against the federal judge late last year, but also that he failed to honor an agreement with the FBI to let the authorities know of any intended violence by church members.

Authorities have said a grand jury is investigating whether Hale encouraged or ordered Smith to go on the shooting spree, which left two minorities dead.

Hale’s trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 3 at Chicago’s federal courthouse. He has pleaded innocent and is being held without bond.

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