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Supremacist Guilty In Kill Plot

White supremacist leader Matthew Hale, whose gospel of "racial holy war" was linked to a follower's deadly shooting rampage five years ago, was found guilty Monday of trying to have a federal judge killed.

Hale, 32, was found guilty of four of the five charges against him. He was found innocent of one of two counts of soliciting the murder of a federal judge. The judge was not attacked.

Prosecutors said Hale was furious after U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow ordered him to stop using the name World Church of the Creator. Lefkow had ordered Hale to stop using the name because it had been trademarked by an Oregon-based religious group that has no ties to Hale.

Hale sat with his hands clasped on the table as the verdicts were read. He dipped his head slightly but showed no other reaction.

Hale never testified during the two-week trial, and chief defense counsel Thomas Anthony Durkin called no witnesses, saying the prosecution's evidence was the weakest he had seen in a major case.

The defense argued that Hale never asked anyone to kill the judge and that the FBI used an informant to draw him into a murder plot.

During the trial, jurors heard more than a dozen tapes of Hale using racial slurs, including one in which he laughs about the 1999 shooting rampage by one of his followers, Benjamin Smith, who targeted minorities and killed two people, including former Northwestern University basketball coach Ricky Byrdsong.

U.S. District Judge James T. Moody did not immediately set a sentencing date.

Solicitation of murder carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Hale could also get a maximum of 10 years on each of three counts of obstruction of justice.

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