William A. White, the Roanoke neo-Nazi figure who is being held in Chicago on federal charges of encouraging violence against a juror, has been indicted in Roanoke on more federal charges.
In a seven-count indictment announced today, he is charged with threatening five individuals in the United States and Canada and with attempting to intimidate participants in a federal housing discrimination lawsuit in Virginia Beach.
White, who owns rental property in the city and describes himself as the commander of the Roanoke-based American National Socialist Workers Party, has attracted widespread attention with Internet postings that seem to call for attacks on blacks and Jews. The black teens charged with assault in Jena, La., author Elie Wiesel, columnist Leonard Pitts, president-elect Barack Obama and journalists at The Roanoke Times, among many others, have been subjects of White's posts in recent years. White has described the posts as satire and protected free speech.
"William A. White's views and opinions of the world have been much publicized and well documented over the years," Acting U.S. Attorney Julia Dudley said in a news conference today. "However, this case is not about William A. White's views or his opinions about the world, or his right to exercise freedom of speech.
"This case is about William A. White making late-night phone calls and sending threats in e-mails to college professors, bank employees, lawyers, mayors, newspaper reporters and their families. ...
"This case is about innocent people being threatened, intimidated and extorted by a man that in most cases, they don't know and have never met."
Today's indictment comes less than a week after a federal judge in Chicago ordered White held without bond. White is charged in Chicago with posting a juror's address and telephone numbers on his Web site, which federal authorities say was an invitation for others to harm the man. According to White's post, the juror played a key role in convicting Matthew Hale, a fellow white supremacist, in 2004.
Hale is serving a 40-year prison sentence for soliciting the murder of a judge who ruled against him in a trademark infringement case involving the name of his organization, the World Church of the Creator.
In ordering White held with no bond, U.S. District Judge William Hibbler cited concerns about what White's followers might do at his urging if he were to be released.
The new charges stem from incidents in which White is accused of threatening, via e-mails, phone calls and online postings:
* a Citibank employee during a dispute about a business account. Prosecutors say White threatened to make public the employee's personal information and mentioned the murder of a federal judge's family, saying "Lord knows that drawing too much publicity and making people upset" led to the murders. White also faces an extortion charge linked to the dispute.
* nationally syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts.
* a professor at the University of Maryland. The professor apparently taught a seminar that White found offensive.
* a Canadian lawyer involved in an effort to close a Canada-based Internet Web site that White administered.
* the mayor of a New Jersey town who was involved in a racial dispute in that town. (thanks Hal Turner)
* White also is accused of trying to influence witness testimony by sending letters to black tenants who were involved in a discrimination case against their landlord in Virginia Beach.
The charges of communicating threats in interstate commerce each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The charge of communicating an extortion threat in interstate commmerce carries a maximum 20-year sentence. The witness intimidation charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Each charge also carries a possible fine of up to $250,000.