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White Supremacist Denied Bond After Allegedly Taped Plotting to Kill Judge

January 24, 2003|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — A white supremacist charged with soliciting a federal judge's murder was denied bond Thursday after prosecutors quoted a secret tape of him responding "good" when a follower said they could "exterminate the rat."

Matt Hale, 31, head of the World Church of the Creator, was taped in a conversation with his group's chief of security, prosecutors said at the bond hearing in Hammond, Ind. But the chief of security was actually a source working for the FBI, the prosecutors told U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich.

After hearing the evidence, Rodovich denied bond for Hale of East Peoria, Ill. Trial is set for July 14 in Chicago.

Defense attorneys argued that Hale had no criminal record and should not be held without bond. They said his father was willing to put up his home as bond to guarantee his son's appearance for trial.

Hale's organization preaches white supremacy. One member, Benjamin Smith, went on a shooting rampage in 1999, killing two people and wounding nine others before killing himself as police closed in.

Prosecutors said Hale had sent an e-mail to his chief of security, instructing him to get the home addresses of three attorneys who had sued Hale's group and of U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow, who was presiding in the case. Prosecutors said Hale later asked about the Lefkow address and was told: "I'm working on it. When we get it, we can exterminate the rat."

"Good," Hale was quoted as saying on the tape, which was not played in court. "Whatever you want to do, basically."

Prosecutors also quoted Hale as saying: "You know my position has always been that I'm going to fight within the law, but that information has been provided. If you wish to do anything yourself you can."

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