Menu JTA Search

A Federal Grand Jury is Investigating Racist Groups

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith welcomed media reports that white supremacist groups, including those linked to the murder of Denver radio talk show host Alan Berg, are under federal investigation at grand jury proceedings in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Saul Rosenthal, director of ADL’s Mountain States Regional Office in Denver, called this development “an extremely important step in bringing the Berg murderers to account for their heinous crime.”

ADL had written to William Bradford Reynolds, head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, urging federal investigation of the Berg murder and offering the resources of the ADL to assist in the investigation.

Rosenthal also said that ADL was disappointed that the Denver District Attorney, Norman Early, perceives that there is insufficient evidence at this time to file murder charges under Colorado law. The lack of prosecution, Rosenthal said, “may create a powerful message from Denver — that a gang of neo-Nazi thugs can murder an innocent man and get away with it.”

EFFORTS TO CONTINUE TO FIND THE GUILTY

Noting that Berg was assassinated because he was an outspoken opponent of bigotry and extremism and because he was Jewish, Rosenthal said Trenton “ADL will continue its efforts to see that those guilty of this unconscionable act are brought to justice. Our commitment to the Jewish community and to the defense of civil rights for all individuals demands no less.”

Last year, 10 members of the neo-Nazi group, The Order, were convicted in Seattle of racketeering and conspiracy as part of a campaign designed to finance a revolution against the U.S. government. The sentences meted out ranged from 40-100 years and were based, in part, on such acts as bank and armored car robbery and counterfeiting. All of the defendants could apply for parole in 10 years.

At the trial, there was testimony implicating members of The Order in the 1984 murder of Berg. One witness identified a defendant, Bruce Pierce, as the man who fired the automatic machine gun at Berg, killing him instantly. Others identified defendant David Lane as the getaway car driver and Richard Scutari as a lookout. Jean Craig, another defendant, was convicted of tracking Berg in preparation for the murder.

NEXT STORY