updated 3/7/2011 6:44:58 PM ET 2011-03-07T23:44:58

The federal trial of a former Aryan Nations attorney accused of hiring a man to kill his wife and her mother is being delayed again and will be moved to Boise, Idaho.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday in Edgar Steele's trial, and 70 potential jurors were called to the federal courthouse. But U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill decided to grant defense lawyers a delay so they'd have more time to prepare.

The trial will now start in April and will be moved to Boise, after Steele's attorneys complained about extensive local publicity.

It is the third delay in the trial.

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Edgar Steele, 65, has pleaded not guilty to hiring Larry Fairfax to kill his wife and her mother and contends he is the victim of a government conspiracy because of his unpopular views and writings. His wife, Cyndi Steele, has said she also believes her husband is innocent.

Steele in 2000 represented Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler in a federal civil lawsuit brought by two people who were attacked by the group's security guards. A jury awarded the victims $6.3 million, which bankrupted Aryan Nations and forced Butler to sell his 20-acre compound.

Steele went on to represent other controversial clients and also published a website and book with extensive anti-Semitic and white supremacist views.

Prosecutors say Fairfax became an undercover FBI informant and secretly recorded conversations in which he and Steele discussed the plot. Steele was arrested as his Sagle home in June.

Steele and his wife both contend those recordings are fakes.

Steele is also charged with use of explosive materials to commit a federal felony, possession of a destructive device in relation to a crime of violence, and tampering with a victim.

The tampering charge is the result of telephone conversations Steele had with his wife from jail in which he told her to deny to authorities that it was his voice on the secret recordings.

Fairfax admitted planting a pipe bomb under Cyndi Steele's vehicle but said he rigged it so it would not explode. He is in jail awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to two firearms charges for making and possessing a pipe bomb. He is expected to testify for the prosecution.


Information from: Coeur d'Alene Press, http://www.cdapress.com

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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