1 02-16-88 12:11 acs editors: jury selection begins at 10 a.m. est Security tight for tria

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1 02-16-88 12:11 acs editors: jury selection begins at 10 a.m. est Security tight for trial of white supremacists FORT SMITH, Ark. (UPI) _ The government launched another offensive in its war against the white supremacist movement, placing 14 men on trial on charges of seditious conspiracy and plotting to assassinate federal officials. Tight security was in place for the opening of the trial today, which marked the first time sedition charges have been used against members of extreme right-wing groups. The men are charged in a 1983 plot to overthrow the government and establish a white nation in the Pacific Northwest. Prosecutors say the conspiracy was financed through robberies and counterfeiting and was to be carried out by bombings, destruction of utilities, pollution of public water supplies and killings of federal officials and minorities. Ten defendants are charged with scheming to overthrow the federal government. One of those men and four others are charged with plotting to assassinate federal officials including H. Franklin Waters, chief federal judge for the Western District of Arkansas, and Jack Knox, an FBI agent in Little Rock, Ark. The charge carries a maximum sentence of up to life in prison. The defendants contend federal officials are conducting a witch hunt and trying to abridge their constitutional freedoms of speech and religion. Security for the trial, which could last up to three months, is unprecedented for Fort Smith, a city of 74,000 on the Arkansas-Oklahoma border. A security fence has been installed behind the courthouse and cameras and metal detectors placed inside. Those charged with seditious conspiracy include the Rev. Richard G. Butler, 69, a Bennett, Colo., native and leader of the Aryan Nations Church at Hayden Lake, Idaho; Robert E. Miles, 63, a Bridgeport, Conn., native, and leader of the Mountain Church of Jesus Christ the Savior at Cohoctah, Mich., who is a former grand dragon of the Michigan Ku Klux Klan and is said to be the No. 2 man of the Aryan Nations Church; and Louis R. Beam Jr., 41, a Lufkin, Texas, native arrested last year after a shootout near Guadalajara, Mexico. Beam is a former grand dragon of the Texas Klan. Others facing sedition charges include David E. Lane, 49, a Woden, Iowa, native and Denver resident, affiliated with the Klan, the Aryan Nations Church and The Order; Ardie McBrearty, 60, a California native and Gentry, Ark., resident, affiliated with the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord and The Order as intelligence chief and legal adviser; Bruce C. Pierce, 33, a Kentucky native and former resident of Metaline Falls, Wash., affiliated with the Aryan Nations Church and The Order; Richard J. Scutari, 40, a New York native and security chief for The Order. Lane and Pierce were convicted of civil rights violations last year and sentenced to 150-year prison terms in the 1984 slaying of Jewish radio talk show host Alan Berg, who was gunned down outside his Denver home. Scutari was acquitted of the charges in the same trial. The Fort Smith indictment was unsealed the same day the Denver indictments were returned in the Berg case. After Butler surrendered to FBI agents that day, his assistant, Richard Masker, called the indictments "a Marxist media extravaganza staged at the taxpayers' expense. It is nothing more than a head-hunting expedition in true Jewish fashion." Beam was on the FBI's list of most wanted fugitives when he was arrested in Mexico in November. At a hearing at which bond was denied, Beam was questioned about his writings urging the assassinations of international figures. Justice Department attorney Markton Carlson asked Beam, "Who would you kill?" "International bankers, international politicians of some weight, that kind of thing. Most of them white _ just like you. My duty is to absolutely oppose them and remove them from being a threat," Beam answered. "You would commit murder for those reasons?" Carlson said. "Murder? It's not called murder when you kill an enemy," Beam said.

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