Neo-Nazi defiant despite financial ruin

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The Independent Online

Despite a devastating court decision ordering him to pay $6.3m (£4.3) in damages to two tourists beaten up outside his compound in northern Idaho, the leader of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations group showed no sign of remorse or defeat over the weekend, characteristically blaming his plight on Jews and "enemies of free speech".

Despite a devastating court decision ordering him to pay $6.3m (£4.3) in damages to two tourists beaten up outside his compound in northern Idaho, the leader of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations group showed no sign of remorse or defeat over the weekend, characteristically blaming his plight on Jews and "enemies of free speech".

To express his defiance, 82-year-old Richard Butler sat next to a silver bust of Adolf Hitler at a news conference and vowed he had no intention of going away quietly.

"They cannot run me out of northern Idaho with my tail between my legs," he said, speaking from the pulpit of the white supremacist church he has run for the past 20 years at the group's Hayden Lake headquarters.

The reality, however, may be different. Unable to raise the $900,000 bond he needs to appeal the judgement against him, Mr Butler and his group will almost certainly be bankrupted by the damages set by a jury in Coeur d'Alene last Thursday.

The lawyer who pressed the suit against him, Morris Dees, is well known in civil rights circles for his record of closing down racist organisations by going after their assets and has now urged the courts to freeze Mr Butler's assets so he cannot spirit some of them away from the reach of the law.

The Hayden Lake compound is likely to be seized. There is some talk of the Aryan Nations moving to Escondido, in southern California, but its numbers have dwindled so badly in recent years that the group may simply disappear completely.

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