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No bail for blogger accused of threats to judges

Judges Murder Threats
In an unrelated charge, Hal Turner, a white supremacist blogger, was arrested at his New Jersey home Wednesday, and charged with threatening to assault or murder three Chicago-based judges who refused to overturn local ordinances banning handguns. Jessica Hill / AP
/ Source: NBC News and news services

A judge in New Jersey has denied bail to a blogger charged with threatening to assault or murder three Chicago-based federal judges who refused to overturn handgun bans.

Hal Turner, 47, appeared in federal court Thursday. The 47-year-old Turner was arrested Wednesday at his northern New Jersey home.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Attorneys had offered to release Turner if he agreed to be confined to his North Bergen home and not use the Internet. But U.S. Magistrate Michael Shipp said he considered Turner a danger to the community and ordered him transferred to Illinois.

Turner's attorney, Michael Orozco, said he will still try to get Turner released on bail.

Turner is accused of posting statements on his Web site calling for the murder of three federal appeals court judges in Chicago who recently upheld bans on handguns in Chicago and a suburb.

"Let me be the first to say this plainly: these Judges deserve to be killed." He included their pictures, phone numbers, work address and room numbers along with a photo of the courthouse in which they work and a map of its location, the FBI says.

"We take threats to federal judges very seriously. Period," said Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago.

According to the FBI, Turner's Web site noted that the decision on guns came from the same federal appeals court that upheld the conviction of Matt Hale, a white supremacist who solicited the murder of a federal judge in Chicago, Joan Lefkow.

Turner noted that Lefkow's mother and husband were murdered by a gunman in her home. She was not hurt. His posting then stated: "Apparently, the 7th U.S. Circuit court didn't get the hint after those killings. It appears another lesson is needed."

Tuner has a long history of making similar statements, including statements that members of Congress ought to be killed. What's different is that he is accused of making statements about judges in Chicago, a city that has experienced very real violence directed against a judge's family.

On Monday, Turner was arraigned in a Connecticut court on a charge of encouraging violence against state legislators there. He allegedly told blog readers to "take up arms" against the lawmakers and that government officials should "obey the Constitution or die."

The federal judges he is accused of threatening ruled that the U.S. Supreme Court should make the decision on the local gun ordinances. They were identified as Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook and William Bauer.