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Hale ‘church’ dealt $200,000 defeat

Chicago Sun-Times, USA
Oct. 25, 2003
Steve Wambir, Federal Courts Reporter • Saturday October 25, 2003

The racist reverend Matt Hale didn’t get to appear Friday before the federal judge he allegedly tried to get his chief of security to kill.

So he didn’t get to see U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow sock him and other leaders of his group, once known as the World Church of the Creator, for $200,000 in sanctions for repeatedly thumbing their noses at a court order.

Attorneys for the TE-TA-MA Truth Foundation, based in Oregon, asked for the sanctions after winning a trademark case against Hale’s group, now known as the Creativity Movement. The foundation had trademarked the “Church of the Creator” name and went to court to stop Hale’s group from using it.

The sanctions were entered against Hale and eight other alleged onetime leaders of the group, including Jon Fox, who is expected to testify against Hale at his criminal trial set for Nov. 3.

Hale was charged in January with asking his chief of security, Tony Evola, to kill the federal judge after she had ruled against his group in the trademark case.

Evola was secretly working for the FBI and recorded hundreds of conversations with Hale and other church members.

Fox, who was a Hale confidant, is expected to say at trial that Hale also asked him to have the judge killed.

Hale was angry with the judge for her decision and said she was either a Jew or married to one, a group of people that Hale’s church loathes. In reality, the judge isn’t Jewish, nor is her husband.

Hale had asked to be taken from the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he is being held under tight security, to attend the court hearing on the civil case Friday, but the judge declined, noting that Hale did not have the legal right to appear at the civil proceeding.

The judge had repeatedly, though, given members of Hale’s group opportunities to attend court hearings to make their case, but no one showed.

Attorney Todd Reardon, who has represented Hale’s group, said it hasn’t been easy to get people from Hale’s group to come to court, given that the U.S. government is treating Hale as a domestic terrorist.

“If the U.S. government calls Pope John Paul a terrorist, how many Catholics would show up?” Reardon asked.

Former church members have told Reardon to take a hike or hung up on him.

As for collecting the money from Hale or any other church leaders, attorneys for the Oregon religious group have not yet devised a strategy but acknowledged it could be a challenge.

“I’m not expecting a check on my desk tomorrow,” one of them quipped.

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