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Neo-Nazi on Trial for Threats to Gay Chicagoan

Neo-Nazi on Trial for Threats to Gay Chicagoan

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A trial began Monday in U.S. district court in Chicago of a neo-Nazi accused of urging violence against a gay Chicago man who served on a jury that convicted another white supremacist in a murder plot in 2004.

William White (pictured) of Roanoke, Va., is being tried in connection with threats made to Mark Hoffman, 46, a former Northwestern University administrator who was foreman of the jury that convicted white supremacist Matt Hale of ordering his head of security to kill Joan Lefkow, a federal judge in Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. While there was ultimately no attempt made on Lefkow's life, Hale is serving a 40-year sentence for soliciting such an attack.

On September 11, 2008, four years after the Hale trial, Hoffman began receiving threatening phone calls and text messages. It turned out that White had posted personal information about Hoffman on a white supremacist website; it included his photo and his home address, and noted that Hoffman is gay and his partner is African-American (Hoffman is white). The website described Hoffman as a "gay, Jewish anti-racist." It also said Hale was wrongfully convicted and that Hoffman was responsible for that.

Federal prosecutors say the information was meant to incite violence against Hoffman and his loved ones. Hoffman, who is now a lawyer, testified Monday that while he did not receive physical threats, he received many hateful messages; one voice mail said, "F---ing Jew bastard, are you too busy f---ing your n----- buddy? Pick up the phone." Hoffman, who does not happen to be Jewish, changed his phone number after that, he said. He also said he received such text messages as "sodomize Obama" and "cremate Jews."

"They wouldn't stop," Hoffman testified of the texts he received, according to the Chicago Tribune. "I just kept breaking down in tears because they wouldn't stop." He also broke down momentarily on the witness stand while talking about his partner, who was in the courtroom.

White's lawyers say their client did not threaten Hoffman and that the information he posted on the Internet was publicly available anyway. The trial is continuing; on Tuesday an FBI agent testified that White once posted similar personal information about syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, who is African-American, and stated in an e-mail, "Frankly, if some loony took the info and killed him, I wouldn't shed a tear."

Read more here and here.

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