Edgar Steele Arrested In Murder For Hire Plot

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Edgar Steele Arrested In Murder For Hire Plot

Post#1 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:27 am

Wow! I wonder if this is another Oswald kinda set-up, or if Edgar's lost it.

Edgar Steele Arrested In Murder For Hire Plot

BY KATHLEEN KRELLER AND CYNTHIA SEWELL - kkreller@idahostatesman.com
Published: 06/11/10

A North Idaho attorney long connected to hate groups like the Aryan Nations has been charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Coeur d'Alene in a murder-for-hire plot to kill his wife and mother-in-law.

Edgar J. Steele was arrested Friday at his Sagle residence — the same day he wanted his wife and her mother to be killed in a pre-arranged car crash meant to look like an accident, according to an affidavit filed with the federal court.

"The United States Magistrate had found probable cause for the offense," said Traci Whelan, an assistant U.S. Attorney. "As for the timing of the arrest, it was prudent given he had apparently set a deadline for it today."

According to the court documents, a confidential witness approached the FBI on June 9 and told agents Steele had asked the witness to kill the two women.

The witness, who worked for Steele, said six months earlier Steele had initiated a conversation about a list of people he wanted killed, including his wife and her mother. The witness agreed to the plot and accepted money, court documents say.

The witness told the FBI Steele paid $500 in cash for travel expenses and promised as much as $25,000 if the murders were completed on Friday, June 11. According to the affidavit, Steele promised the witness another $100,000 if an insurance policy paid out after his wife's murder.

Court documents show the informant was wired during conversations with Steele, who told the witness the murders must be completed on Friday because of an alibi, court documents said.

"Prior to the interview ending, Edgar Steele told (the witness) that he has no second thoughts and he wants the plan carried out," the affidavit says."This statement was made multiple times during the meet."

The court documents say Steele told the informant if they were caught he would deny knowing them. But if the informant was caught and did not implicate Steele, the informant's family would be compensated.

It is unclear why Steele was targeting his wife. Wheelan said she believed the couple was still married and was not separated. Steele's wife was visiting or helping out with a health care issue at her mother's house in Oregon, Wheelan said.

Whelan said the complaint is just a charging document and is not proof of guilt. Steele will likely appear at a preliminary hearing on Monday, Whelan said. The case must yet go before a grand jury.

"Neither the FBI or U.S. Attorney's Office would proceed in a case where we didn't feel there was proof to charge," Whelan said.

Steele is in custody on federal felony charges, Whelan said, but she declined to reveal where he is being held.

According to his website, Steele is an author and trial lawyer who graduated from the UCLA School of Law. His law practice is “noteworthy for cases that test the limits of constitutional law on behalf of politically incorrect clients.”

He is noted for his unsuccessful defense of the Aryan Nations and its founder Richard Butler in a multi-million dollar lawsuit brought against them in 2000. Steele has expressed his anti-Semitic and racist views in online rants and in the book "Defensive Racism: An Unapologetic Examination of Racial Differences."

Steele said he has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, Fox News, Dateline, NBC Nightly News, Court TV, Geraldo and CNN in connection with both his writing and the high-profile cases he has handled.

Last year, in response to the shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum of a security guard by neo-Nazi James von Brunn, Steele said, "Why did Von Brunn choose to unload at the National Holocaust Museum? Because it is an edifice to one of the most stupendous lies of modern times, paid for and maintained with taxpayer dollars, that's why."

He has also represented controversial clients like the McGuckins, a North Idaho family who held off police seeking to take custody of several children during a standoff in 2001. He also sought to overturn Idaho's hate crime laws.

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