The New Jersey blogger and radio host charged with asking his readers to “take up arms” against two state lawmakers and a state official was arraigned Monday in Hartford Superior Court.
Harold Turner, 47, of North Bergen, New Jersey showed up about 14-minutes late to court Monday and was granted a continuance to July 14. No plea was entered.
Meanwhile the state prosecutor will screen the case for Part A court, where more serious crimes are heard.
“At this time we’re not going to have any comment,” Matthew Potter of Beck and Eldergill, Turner’s attorney, said Monday after the arraignment. He said the screening for Part A is common practice.
According to police, Turner’s blog asked readers to take up arms against Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, and Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, for legislation which would have changed how the Roman Catholic Church is governed. It also asked readers to take up arms against an Office of State Ethics official for asking the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport to register as a lobbyist for a rally it held in opposition to the bill.
“‘It’s certainly my intent to motivate the public to get involved in this, and certainly we hope that nobody’s going to go off the deep end and do something terrible, but…After a pause, Turner stated ‘you never can tell,’” the arrest warrant affidavit states.
The arrest warrant affidavit says McDonald expressed concern for his own safety in a phone call with Capitol Police Chief Michael Fallon.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Thomas Jones, the state official from the Office of State Ethics who was also mentioned in Turner’s blog post, said he found it “very troubling and very concerning.”
Turner’s blog promised to release the home address of Lawlor, McDonald, and Jones, with the intent to “foment direct action against these individuals personally,” and that they “should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die.”
The arrest warrant affidavit also states that Turner admitted to creating the post. “Certainly I’m responsible for what I wrote,” Turner told police on June 2.
Turner who posted the $25,000 bond more than two weeks ago left the courthouse Monday shortly after his arraignment. His Web site where the post initially appeared was taken down by Blogger for a violation of its terms of service. However, Turner started another web site here.