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Judge frees racist jailed for Web threats

April 20, 2011 at 11:21 AM   |   Comments

CHICAGO, April 20 (UPI) -- A federal judge has cleared a white supremacist convicted of calling for an attack on a jury foreman in Chicago, citing free speech rights.

District Judge Lynn Adelman, who was brought in from Milwaukee because of potential conflicts for other judges, ruled Tuesday that there was insufficient evidence that William White, in his comments on his site, overthrow.com, wanted to harm Mark Hoffman, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Hoffman was the foreman of a 2004 jury that convicted white supremacist Matthew Hale for soliciting the murder of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow in Chicago.

Lefkow's husband and mother were murdered in 2005.

In a 2008 posting, White attacked Hoffman and gave his photo, address and phone numbers. White's defense said he did not directly call for someone to harm Hoffman, but a jury convicted him.

"The First Amendment protects vehement, scathing and even offensive criticism of others, including individuals involved in the criminal justice system," Adelman wrote.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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