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White Supremacist Pleads Not Guilty to Hate Crime Campaign

November 14, 2000|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — A white supremacist Monday denied charges that he orchestrated a campaign of racist crimes that included threats against a Jewish congressman and a Latino mayor.

Alex James Curtis, 25, of Lemon Grove pleaded not guilty in federal court to three counts of conspiracy to violate civil rights. A second defendant, Michael Brian DaSilva, 21, is expected to be arraigned today.

Curtis, the publisher of a racist Internet newsletter and purported to be an emerging leader on the radical right, did not speak in court and entered his plea through a court-appointed lawyer.

His father, Dale Curtis, criticized the government's case and the media coverage of it.

During the hearing, Dale Curtis sat in the front row next to Tom Metzger, one of the founders of a racist group known as White Aryan Resistance.

In 1990, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit against Metzger on behalf of the family of a black man who was beaten to death by skinheads in Portland, Ore. Arguing that White Aryan Resistance incited the attack, the center won a $9-million judgment.

Metzger and Dale Curtis, the owner of an engineering business, chatted and laughed as they waited and ate lunch together during a break in the proceeding.

"I like this kid," Metzger said of Alex Curtis outside the courthouse.

Federal prosecutor Amalia Meza said she will ask that Curtis be held without bail because he is a danger to the community and may try to flee. A bond hearing is set Thursday.

Curtis, publisher of the Nationalist Observer newsletter, and DaSilva are accused of putting anti-Semitic materials outside the office of Democratic Rep. Bob Filner.

The two also allegedly left threats and anti-Latino slogans and a box with a dummy hand grenade at the home of La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid.

In addition, the two are accused of spray-painting swastikas and other graffiti on two synagogues and of leaving racist materials at the home of Morris Casuto, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of San Diego.

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