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False arrest lawsuit arises from acquittal

A New Jersey blogger has filed a lawsuit against the Connecticut officials who charged him with threatening and inciting violence. The man was acquitted on the Connecticut charges, but was returned to prison in Illinois, where he was serving a prison sentence after being convicted of threatening three federal judges.

The man is seeking $50 million in damages for false arrest, wrongful imprisonment, unlawful prior restraint of speech and malicious prosecution. He names state legislators, state capitol police officers, a retired state prosecutor, an assistant state's attorney, the governor's deputy press secretary, and others in his lawsuit.

The plaintiff wrote in a 2009 blog that Catholics should "take up arms and put down this tyranny by force." He was referring to a bill that was intended to give lay members more say in the financial matters of the Roman Catholic Church. He also threatened to give out the home addresses of those he believed to be responsible for the legislation.

"These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die," he wrote. "If any state attorney, police department or court thinks they're going to get uppity with us about this; I suspect we have enough bullets to put them down, too."

"These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die," he wrote. "If any state attorney, police department or court thinks they're going to get uppity with us about this; I suspect we have enough bullets to put them down, too."

He was arrested before he could go on his radio program the following day.

During the trial, he said, "The state is prosecuting me simply for uttering words and there's a problem with that, because in the United State of America people are supposed to be free to express their opinions." I never said, 'Go attack these men,'" he said. "I chose my words very carefully."

The jury acquitted Turner, but said it did not care for his comments.

Source: Hartford Courant, "Blogger Acquitted In Threatening Case Sues For $50 Million," Dec, 3, 2012.

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