Alex Constantine - June 15, 2010
NEWARK – Internet radio shock jock Hal Turner of North Bergen, silenced since his arrest last year on charges of threatening to kill three federal judges, lost a round in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Tuesday when a trustee was given additional time to investigate his assets.
Turner, who is facing a third criminal trial this summer after two mistrials, is seeking to wipe out more than $95,000 in mostly credit card debt in a Chapter 7 petition filed in February.
The court-appointed trustee, Benjamin A. Stanziale, threw a wrench into Turner’s plans for speedy discharge of his debt. Alleging Turner may have failed to disclose assets, Stanziale persuaded U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Donald H. Steckroth to grant him an additional 60 days to investigate.
Stanziale told the judge he is preparing subpoenas and doing Internet research but he preferred not to disclose where his investigation is going.
Russell L. Low, Turner’s lawyer, opposed the extension saying his client has been “shutdown by the government” and “has no means of making a living.”
The judge told Stanziale to try to wrap up his inquiry by Aug. 15 and said “if you want additional time you will have to tell me a little bit more” about any alleged undisclosed assets.
Outside the courtroom, Turner declined comment citing a gag order imposed as a condition of his $500,000 bail in the criminal case. Low said Turner has neither concealed assets, nor any contract to write a book about his double life as an ultra right-wing shock jock and confidential intelligence source for the FBI.
Turner, 48, who grew up in Ridgefield Park, built an audience of white supremacists and neo-Nazis with an Internet radio show and blog that featured racist rhetoric and frequent calls for violence against public officials with whom he disagreed.
The Record reported last year that Turner was recruited by FBI counter-terrorism agents in 2003 and paid thousands of dollars to travel to rallies, conferences and meetings of the Aryan Nation, the National Alliance, and other white-power groups. The FBI severed the relationship in mid-2007 citing an inability to control his incendiary on-air rants and blogs.
In June 2009, FBI agents acting on a complaint filed in Chicago arrested Turner on a charge of threatening to murder or assault three judges from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a blog post in which he wrote they “deserved to be killed” for upholding a local gun ban. Separate juries in December and again in March failed to reach a unanimous verdict on whether to convict or acquit him, setting the stage for his third trial on Aug. 9 in Brooklyn.