Thursday, October 5, 2000

Idaho

Butler withdraws his appeal
Action kept sheriff's deputies from beginning to seize property at Aryan Nations compound
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Bill Morlin
Staff writer

Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler has withdrawn his handwritten appeal of a $6.3 million judgment returned by a jury in Coeur d'Alene last month.

Butler wrote and filed the appeal Sept. 13, six days after a jury slapped him with punitive and compensatory damages for a 1998 assault carried out by three Aryan Nations guards.

Butler drafted the appeal in a successful attempt to block sheriff's deputies from beginning to seize assets on the property.

A formal appeal couldn't
be filed until after trial Judge Charles Hosack decides whether to grant Butler's request for a new trial.

If denied, Butler would have to post an appeal bond equal to approximately 1.5 times the jury award. He has said he doesn't have that kind of money.

In late September, Butler and attorneys for plaintiffs Victoria and Jason Keenan reached an agreement that will kick in if the judge doesn't grant a new trial.

Butler is scheduled to give up his 20-acre compound, including a farmhouse where he lives, to satisfy a portion of the judgment he faces.

He also must surrender the name "Aryan Nations."

Butler agreed to surrender his property on Oct. 25 or one week after the judge's ruling, whichever occurs later.

He has not disclosed where he intends to live, but said he has no intention of leaving North Idaho.

He has a permit for a parade in downtown Coeur d'Alene on Oct. 28.

His friend, Vince Bertollini, a self-described evangelist with the 11th Hour Remnant Messenger, said Wednesday he will join Butler for a "march-walk down Sherman Avenue."

Butler's new group will be called "Aryan National Alliance," Bertollini said in an Internet posting.

"This is a white pride march where true Aryans are standing together in common bond for our race and telling the fine folks of North Idaho and the national media that we are not going to be silenced, nor are we going away," Bertollini said.

Butler's attorney, Edgar Steele, filed motions in late September asking for another trial.

In the alternative, he wants the judge to either reduce the jury amount or completely erase the judgment.

Steele contends Butler didn't get a fair trial because of media reports.

Butler's attorney alleges that jurors had made up their minds and decided to bankrupt Butler and the Aryan Nations without adequately considering evidence presented at a seven-day trial.

The judge hasn't set a date for a hearing on Steele's motions.

Bill Morlin can be reached at (509) 459-5444 or by e-mail at billm@spokesman.com


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