Defendant in race war trial wants to testify

Boston Herald, July 24, 2002 Link
by J.M. Lawrence
Wednesday, July 24, 2002

After seven days of dramatic government evidence portraying him as a violent racist willing to die in pursuit of “racial holy war,” Leo V. Felton wants to testify today before a federal jury whose verdict could put him in prison for 40 years.

“He ought to think seriously and carefully about this decision,” U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner told Felton’s attorney, Lenore Glaser, yesterday.

If the 31-year-old Maryland man takes the stand, federal prosecutor Theodore Merritt will be allowed to grill Felton about his 1989 New Jersey conviction for beating a minority taxi driver with a tire iron, as well as his extended prison stay for slashing a minority inmate.

Gertner yesterday refused Felton’s attempt to keep his criminal record out of the courtroom.

Felton, whose mother is white and whose father is black, has publicly condemned his parents for his biracial identity.

He has a near-genius IQ and suffers from mental illness, according to some family members.

Federal prosecutors rested their case yesterday after a parade of witnesses, including a white power foot soldier serving time for carjacking, described Felton’s plan to go down in history as part of a cell of racist revolutionaries.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday July 25, 2002.
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