Report: Hale told father to lie to jury

White supremacist allegedly solicited murder of judge

CHICAGO – White supremacist Matt Hale told his father to lie to a federal grand jury investigating Hale’s possible involvement in a deadly 1999 shooting rampage, according to an indictment released Thursday.

Federal agents overheard the alleged obstruction of justice as Russell Hale talked to his jailed son on the telephone in mid-April. The younger Hale, 32, has been held without bond in Chicago since January, when he was charged with soliciting the murder of a federal judge in that city.

The father and son had lived together in East Peoria, where the younger Hale ran a white-power group once known as the World Church of the Creator.

Hale allegedly advised his father to testify he saw him become emotional and break down during a CNN interview about Benjamin Smith. Four summers ago, the Hale disciple went on a shooting spree in Illinois and Indiana that left two minorities dead and several wounded before he killed himself with police closing in.

Hale denied any connection, but federal prosecutors have increasingly injected Smith into Hale’s murder-solicitation case. The indictment says the grand jury continues to examine whether Hale “ordered or encouraged” Smith’s actions.

Hale knew “his reaction to Benjamin Smith’s death was material to the grand jury investigation,” the document said.

The original two-count indictment against Hale has been revised twice. The core charge remains that Hale last year encouraged a bodyguard – actually an informant working for the FBI – to kill U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow.

Lefkow issued an order against Hale’s organization in a trademark-infringement case. It barred Hale from using the World Church name, which is owned by an Oregon religious group.

Hale pleaded innocent to the latest criminal charges – called a superseding indictment – during an arraignment Thursday at the federal courthouse in Hammond, Ind., about 25 miles east of Chicago.

His defense attorney, Thomas A. Durkin, was critical of the government for taping the father-son conversation and called the latest charge “another last-minute attempt to bolster an incredibly weak case.”

Hale is incarcerated under the type of strict conditions usually reserved for terrorists or organized-crime figures. Durkin said the restrictions have hampered his client’s efforts to raise

legal funds.

In apparent protest, Hale intends to wear his orange prison jumpsuit at trial instead of more formal attire. The trial is slated to begin Sept. 22 in Chicago, with a judge from Hammond presiding.

“We refer to it as his ‘gulag suit’ because the government has put him in the gulag,” Durkin said in announcing Hale’s wardrobe selection.

Pressed for an explanation, he later added: “We believe this was a government-instigated case and an attempt to take Hale off the street. They have accomplished that.”

In another development, a judge earlier this month denied the defense’s request for a change of venue. Durkin had sought to move the trial from Chicago to Hale’s home turf in central Illinois, citing pretrial publicity and arguing that many of the alleged crimes took place downstate.

Hale, whose notoriety has grown in recent years, was arrested Jan. 8 on his way to a hearing before Lefkow at the Dirksen Federal Building in downtown Chicago.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Copley News Service, USA
Aug. 29, 2003
Mike Ramsey

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday August 29, 2003.
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