CHICAGO – A white supremacist convicted of soliciting the murder of federal Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow (search) was ordered along with his followers to pay about $450,000 in attorneys' fees in a copyright case in which the judge sided against him.
U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan (search) set the amount in an order made public late Monday in a civil lawsuit filed against a group formerly known as the World Church of the Creator.
The group, headed by white supremacist Matthew Hale (search), was sued in federal court by an Oregon religious organization, the TE-TA-MA Truth Foundation-Family of Uri, which claimed it owned the copyright on the name World Church of the Creator.
The Oregon foundation has repeatedly sought to disassociate itself from Hale's group and said it does not believe in white supremacy or bigotry in any form.
Hale, 33, became enraged after Lefkow ordered his group to stop using the name. He was later convicted of urging an undercover FBI informant to murder her in revenge for her order. He was sentenced April 6 to 40 years in prison.
Der-Yeghiayan, who took over the copyright case from Lefkow, awarded all the money that attorneys for the TE-TA-MA Truth Foundation requested for work on the case from February 2000 through December 2003.
How much of the $450,747 they will be able to collect remains uncertain. Federal law enforcement officials say Hale's followers have scattered and joined other groups.
Attorneys who represented the TE-TA-MA Truth Foundation were not available for comment Monday night. Nor was Todd Riordan, an attorney who represented the white supremacist group at the start of the lawsuit.
Weeks ago, Hale filed a brief with the court saying "to fine the church (which is a collection of individuals, including myself) for every minute of time the plaintiffs counsel spent on this case would be a travesty."
Hale's group came under suspicion after Lefkow on Feb. 28 found her husband and 89-year-old mother shot and killed in the family's home. The assailant later was found to be a disgruntled man whose medical malpractice lawsuit had been dismissed by several judges. The man killed himself less than two weeks later.