HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A blogger who urged readers to “take up arms” against Connecticut officials is suing state government leaders for $50 million after being acquitted of threatening and inciting violence.
Harold “Hal” Turner, of North Bergen, N.J., filed the lawsuit in federal court in Newark, N.J., on Nov. 21 claiming he was falsely arrested, wrongfully imprisoned and maliciously prosecuted. A jury acquitted him last year.
Defendants in the lawsuit referred questions Tuesday to the Connecticut attorney general’s office, which will defend them. A spokeswoman for Attorney General George Jepsen declined to comment and said her office will respond to the allegations in court.
Turner couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday. There is no phone listing in his name.
Turner was arrested after a June 2009 blog posting suggesting Connecticut officials “obey the Constitution or die” and urging readers to “take up arms and put down this tyranny by force.” He added that if authorities tried to stop his cause, “I suspect we have enough bullets to put them down too.”
The posting was in response to legislation debated by state lawmakers that would have given lay people of Roman Catholic churches more control over parish finances. Turner believed the legislation flew in the face of the constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state. The bill had been withdrawn three months before his posting.
A state jury in Hartford acquitted Turner in September 2011 after he argued that his free speech rights were being trampled and there was never any violence against state officials.
At the time of his trial, Turner was serving a nearly three-year prison sentence for threatening judges in Illinois. He was released in October.
The defendants in the lawsuit include Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s general counsel, former state Sen. Andrew McDonald and former state Rep. Michael Lawlor, now undersecretary for criminal justice police and planning at the state Office of Policy and Management. McDonald and Lawlor, who were co-chairman of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee when the church bill was debated, declined to comment.
Other officials named in the lawsuit include Assistant State’s Attorney Thomas Garcia, who prosecuted Turner, and state Capitol police officials.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy