White supremacist Alex Curtis, indicted last November on federal hate crime charges, promised never to cooperate with the government. The American Nazi Party, for one, hoped Curtis' legal battle would become the "FIRST time that the Racialists PRESENT A UNITED FRONT AGAINST THE SYSTEM."
Curtis was famous, after all, for his essay on how to answer all law enforcement questions with just five words: "I have nothing to say."
But Curtis crumbled. In March, he pleaded guilty to three conspiracy charges, admitting that he had harassed U.S. Rep. Bob Filner with racist messages and put a snakeskin through his mailbox, defaced two San Diego County synagogues and the homes and offices of local civil rights activists with racist graffiti, and left a dummy grenade for La Mesa, Calif., Mayor Art Madrid.
In exchange for a sentencing recommendation of three years (he had faced 10 or more), Curtis agreed to apologize for the crimes and to refrain from promoting racism for three years after his release.
He also promised during that period not to associate with any of a list of 138 "known" white supremacists — including White Aryan Resistance founder Tom Metzger, a vigorous ally who had raised money for Curtis' legal defense.
Curtis, who used his Nationalist Observer on-line newsletter to promote "lone wolf" violence against the government, allegedly was part of a small cell of racist activists in custody on related charges. One pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to a year in prison; two others await trial.
Metzger, while lamenting the "misplaced respect given to Mr. Curtis by his many supporters," seemed resigned to accept the plea bargain.
"Nothing shocks me anymore," he wrote to readers of his own newsletter. "I never promised you a rose garden."