Hatewatch

Former Neo-Nazi Leader Sentenced to Prison for Threats

Former neo-Nazi leader Bill White will spend 2½ years in prison for threatening his perceived enemies.

U.S. District Judge James Turk sentenced White to 30 months on each of three counts, according to a federal court filing. The sentences will be served at the same time, with credit for time served. The judge also imposed three years of supervised release.

According to The Roanoke Times, Turk said he doesn’t often sentence defendants at the upper end of federal guidelines but thought White deserved the lengthier sentence for terrorizing some of his victims. The newspaper quoted Turk telling White that upon his release from prison, “You can have any thoughts you want to have, but you ought to keep them to yourself.”

On Dec. 18, after an eight-day federal trial in Roanoke, Va., the 32-year-old White was found guilty of making threats against a Citibank employee and a University of Delaware professor and of intimidating tenants of a Virginia Beach apartment complex. (The judge later dismissed a fourth conviction for threatening a Canadian human rights lawyer.) White targeted his victims through E-mail, his website, the telephone and the U.S. mail. On Monday, Turk denied White’s request for a new trial.

White, who did not speak during the hour-long sentencing hearing, was leader of the now-defunct American National Socialist Workers Party, a neo-Nazi organization that in 2008 had 35 chapters in 28 states. He had a long history of using the Internet for harassment. In 1996, while a student at the University of Maryland, he posted the phone number of a woman he believed was abusing her teenage daughter.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said in a news release that the jury last winter rejected White’s contention that his speech was protected under the First Amendment. “[T]his sentence demonstrates that all threatening and intimidating behavior, no matter how a perpetrator tries to mask it, will be subject to the same punishment under the law,” he said.

White will likely serve the remainder of his sentence at a prison in Beckley, W.V. Even after he gets out of jail, it’s unlikely he will have a chance to vilify people on the Web. As part of his conditions of release, White will be barred from posting information online or using the Internet for a job or hobby.