New Trial Denied for Aryan Nations

Friday, October 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

COEUR d'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A judge has denied a new trial for the Aryan Nations, clearing the way for the winners of a $6.3 million judgment to take control of the neo-Nazi group's rural compound.

First District Judge Charles Hosack also declined Thursday to reduce the size of the judgment and rejected the defendants' contention that their right to hate was protected by the constitution.

The defendants were liable for the actions caused by their hate, Hosack wrote.

Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler, the group and some of its members were found negligent by a jury Sept. 7. The lawsuit was brought by Victoria and Jason Keenan, a mother and son who were chased and shot at by Aryan Nations security guards near the group's compound in 1998.

Jurors ruled that Butler and his organization were negligent in selecting and overseeing the guards, who assaulted the Keenans after they had stopped to search for a dropped wallet near the compound's entrance.

The plaintiffs were represented by Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has filed similar lawsuits as a method to fight hate and discrimination.

Butler, 82, has said he would peacefully turn over his 20-acre compound if his motion for a new trial failed. He is living about 15 miles away in a home purchased by a supporter. Any property listed in Butler's name would be subject to seizure by the Keenans.

Butler is vowing to continue pushing his white supremacist, anti-Semitic philosophy. On Saturday, Butler and his supporters will hold a parade on the main street of Coeur d'Alene.

The Keenans have not said what they will do with the compound, but Dees has suggested it could be used as an education center against hate.