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Jury finds shock jock Hal Turner guilty of threatening judges

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Turner faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine
  • He had posted photographs and the work addresses of three judges online
  • Two previous trials ended with deadlocked juries

(CNN) -- Hal Turner, an online radio "shock jock" and blogger, was convicted on Friday of threatening to kill three federal judges in Chicago, Illinois, in retaliation for a ruling they made that upheld handgun bans, government officials said.

Turner was arrested and charged in June 2009 for posting incendiary comments that said the judges involved in the case deserved to be killed. The three judges he threatened, who had upheld a ban on handguns in Chicago and the Oak Park suburb, testified at the trial.

"There is no place in society for threatening federal judges with violence. Period. We are grateful that the jury saw these threats for what they were and rejected any notion that they were acceptable speech," Patrick J.Fitzgerald, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois said in a statement after the conviction.

A sentencing date was not set. Turner faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

An after-hours call to Turner's lawyer, Peter Kirchheimer, was not immediately returned.

Turner, no stranger to controversy, wrote online after the federal appeals court ruling in 2009: "Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed."

Turner had been referring to Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Justice Department officials said.

The post included photographs of the judges, their phone numbers, addresses and a map of the building where they work.

Turner's conviction came at the end of a third trial. Two previous trials ended in mistrials after juries said they were deadlocked.

Turner has been known to post the names and home addresses of judges he believes are on the wrong side of conservative issues, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups.

About former President George W. Bush, Turner once said: "A well-placed bullet can solve a lot of problems," according to the center's website. It adds Turner has also written that "we need to start SHOOTING AND KILLING Mexicans as they cross the border" and has argued that killing certain federal judges "may be illegal, but it wouldn't be wrong."