Feds to ask potential jurors about racist ties in Spokane case

Aug 26, 2011

Prosecutors in a federal hate crime case in Spokane are asking prospective jurors if they have ties to racist and militia groups. The man accused of planting a backpack bomb along Spokane's Martin Luther King Day parade route in January has been linked to white supremacists.

Kevin Harpham's name shows up in connection with more than 1,000 posts made to a Neo-Nazi web forum. And the Southern Poverty Law Center says he was once a member of the racist group, the National Alliance.

This week federal prosecutors filed their questions for jurors in his trial. The list includes questions about affiliations and sympathies with militia groups and organizations that restrict membership on the basis of race.

Potential jurors are also asked if they've had any bad experience with a person of another race that could affect their judgment. And they're asked to disclose whether they or any close friend or family member has been associated with the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Nation, the Skinheads or the American Nazi Party.

However, prosecutors also want to know about ties to other organizations, including the Jewish Defense League and the Nation of Islam.

Harpham's trial was delayed to avoid this week's dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington D.C. The court case is now set to start Sept. 12.

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