CHICAGO (CBS) — An admitted white supremacist was found guilty of encouraging violence against a former jury foreperson on Wednesday, following brief deliberations by an all-white, anonymous jury.
Jurors didn’t reach their verdict without some fear, however, asking the judge if the courtroom could be cleared of visitors and if they could use an alternate exit from the courthouse.
William White, of Roanoke, Va., was convicted of encouraging violence against the former federal juror by posting personal information about him after the man served on the jury that convicted white supremacist Matthew Hale in 2004. White sat silent as he awaited the verdict, his leg bouncing. At one point he dabbed what appeared to be tears from behind his glasses.
The former juror, who is gay, tearfully recounted in testimony how he was inundated with hateful text messages and phone calls from people who had his photo and knew his address, and that he was in a relationship with an African American. He was given protection after the incident.
Before returning their verdict, jurors asked whether the courtroom could be cleared of the public and press. The judge denied that request but granted another request that allowed them to be escorted safely out of the courthouse.
White’s lawyers had framed the case as a battle over the First Amendment, saying White only posted information about the juror but did not advocate harming him.
Prosecutors said White’s record of encouraging harm against others involved in Hale’s case was enough to deduce that he intended to bring harm to the juror by posting the information.
(The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.)