White Supremacist Group Founder Probed

Associated Press/August 30, 2003

Chicago -- A federal grand jury is investigating whether white supremacist Matt Hale ordered or encouraged a fellow supremacist's shooting rampage, federal prosecutors revealed in filing a new obstruction of justice charge against him.

Over the 1999 Fourth of July weekend, Benjamin Smith, a member of Hale's World Church of the Creator, targeted minorities in Illinois and Indiana, killing two people and injuring nine before killing himself.

The new charge alleges that Hale - while in custody on a murder solicitation charge - instructed his father to lie to the grand jury about Smith's death.

A judge Thursday entered an innocent plea to the charge on Hale's behalf.

The indictment alleges that Hale told his father in an April phone call to testify falsely that Hale had stopped a TV interview when he started to cry over Smith's death. It was intended to show that Hale was surprised and saddened by Smith's death and didn't know of his plans in advance, the indictment alleges.

An investigation of Hale in connection to the shooting is continuing.

Hale's lawyer called the allegation a desperate attempt to bolster a weak case.

"They've gone over that 52 ways to Sunday," Thomas Anthony Durkin said. "That's just an attempt to smear Hale."

Hale has been jailed since January on charges he solicited the murder of U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow after she enforced a court order that Hale's group change its name after losing a copyright infringement lawsuit. The group is now known as the Creativity Movement.

Hale's trial is scheduled for Sept. 22 in Chicago.

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