Wednesday, August 19, 2009

FBI Trained Hal Turner As An "Agent Provocateur"

HARTFORD — - Internet blogger Harold "Hal" Turner's attorney said today that Turner's background as an FBI informant will be a key part of his defense to charges that he incited violence against two state legislators and a state ethics official.

Superior Court Judge David P. Gold on Tuesday authorized Michael A. Orozco, a New Jersey attorney, to represent Turner. Turner did not appear again in court Tuesday because he remains in federal custody without bail in Chicago, where he is accused of threatening three federal judges.

In asking Gold to allow Orozco to represent Turner, Turner's Connecticut lawyer, Matthew R. Potter, said Orozco has a long-term legal relationship with Turner, plans to bring a complicated First Amendment defense and is familiar with Turner's background as an FBI informant.

That role as an informant for the FBI is a key part of the defense, Orozco said outside court.

Orozco said Turner was trained by the FBI as "an agent provocateur."

"Mr. Turner was trained by the FBI," Orozco said. "He was told where the line was — what he could say."

In his comments on his blog that brought the state and federal charges, Turner did not cross that line, Orozco said.

Orozco said Turner worked for the FBI from roughly 2002 to 2007.

"His job was basically to publish information which would cause other parties to act in a manner that would cause their arrest," Orozco said.

The comments for which he is charged came after he left the service of the FBI, Orozco said.

Turner stopped working for the FBI on his own, Orozco said. He declined to say who the targets of his comments were.

"If you compare anything he said when he was operating, there's no difference" to what he posted on his blog that led to the criminal charges, Orozco said.

He is scheduled to go to trial on the federal charges on Oct. 5. His next court date in Hartford is set for October 19.

Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant

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