Lawyers want Hale trial moved

Associated Press/May 26, 2003

Chicago -- Attorneys for an East Peoria white supremacist have asked that his upcoming federal murder solicitation trial be moved from here to Peoria, saying extensive publicity has made it impossible to get a fair trial in Chicago.

The motion for a change of venue was filed Friday on behalf of Matthew Hale in U.S. District Court by attorneys Thomas Anthony Durkin and Patrick W. Blegen.

They argued that many Chicago-area newspaper stories about Hale have linked him to a 1999 shooting spree by follower Benjamin Smith, who killed two people and wounded 10 before fatally shooting himself as police closed in. Hale has not been charged in those shootings.

Hale was arrested in Chicago Jan. 8 and charged with soliciting an associate to murder U.S. District Court Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow. Hale has pleaded innocent to the charge.

Hale was sued by an Oregon-based group, TE-TE-MA Truth Foundation, which claimed that it held a trademark on the name "World Church of the Creator."

Lefkow initially ruled in favor of Hale but was reversed by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Lefkow then ordered Hale and his organization to stop using the name.

In April, Lefkow fined Hale's group $1,000 a day until it stops calling itself the World Church of the Creator.

Court officials have appointed James T. Moody, a U.S. District Court judge from Hammond, Ind., to preside over Hale's murder solicitation case. Moody has said he intends to hold the trial, set for Sept. 22, in Chicago.

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