BOISE, Idaho (CN) - An Idaho attorney convicted of paying to have his wife murdered claims in court that the federal government set him up for his politically incorrect views.
Edgar J. Steele sued the Amandola & Doty law firm, its partner Gary Amandola, and former attorney Robert T. McAllister, in Ada County Court.
Steele in 2000 represented white supremacist Richard Butler in a case brought by two Native Americans who were harassed at gunpoint by members of the Aryan Nations, a group Butler founded in northern Idaho in the 1970s. The lawsuit bankrupted the group.
Steele, also a white supremacist, was sentenced in November 2011 to 50 years in federal prison.
He was federally charged in 2010 with hiring a hit man, longtime handyman Larry Fairfax, to blow up his wife with a pipe bomb that was found under her car during an oil change. The motive involved an insurance policy and a Ukrainian woman, according to reports of his trial.
Steele denied the charges and received steadfast support from his wife, but was convicted in 2011. He was sent to the federal prison near Victorville, Calif.
In his lawsuit, Steele calls the prison the "Auschwitz of America," claiming it has a "high number of inmate deaths arising from other inmate murders" and toxic drinking water.
Steele claims his attorneys, defendants McAllister and Amandola, failed to properly defend him during his 2010-2011 trial.
He claims McAllister's own indictment and pending disbarment was covered up until after the murder-for-hire trial.
"After Steele's wrongful conviction in May 2011, he was sentenced Nov. 8, 2011 and McAllister was charged with felonies in a 'sealed' indictment by the U.S. government in July 2011 that was deliberately held and not released to the public until Nov. 16, 2011, after Steele's sentence was pronounced, so that Steele could not use that information as a basis for a new trial; which is further proof of the government's intent to make Steele a political prisoner," Steele claims in the lawsuit.
McAllister, then 61, agreed to he disbarred for converting clients' funds, Law Week Online reported in June 2011. McAllister, whom Law Week called "one of Denver's top criminal-defense lawyers," did not contest his disbarment. He told Law Week he was "devastated by it," but "I have to admit that I'm in violation." McAllister took the money after he lost his shirt in some bad real estate deals.
Steele claims the murder-for-hire charges against him were based on evidence that was "fraudulently manufactured in order to silence his 'politically incorrect' speech and writings": that the government persuaded confidential informants to give false testimony in exchange for money or reduced sentences.
He claims the handyman, Fairfax, "had been manipulated by the government so that he would participate in a fraudulent prosecution against Steele and present false testimony concerning a 'murder-for-hire' plot wherein two pipe bombs were attached to Mr. and Mrs. Steele's automobiles."
In exchange for his testimony, Steele claims, Fairfax received a light sentence of two years in a halfway house, and was allowed to keep "$45,000 in silver coins which he had stolen from the Steele family without being held responsible or accountable," according to the complaint.
Steele claims McAllister was aware of it all, including the tampering with audio recordings.
"McAllister was aware that Edgar Steele maintained that CI Fairfax participated in a scheme to edit and re-manufacture two audio recordings Fairfax had made of casual conversations between himself and Steele concerning ranch issues, which conversation were developed into recordings that made it appear Steele was plotting to murder his wife," the complaint states.
McAllister failed to subpoena an audio expert to examine the audio, who could have "convinced a jury that there was reasonable doubt that Steele was guilty of the alleged murder plot," according to the complaint.
Steele also claims McAllister communicated separately with him and his wife, lying to them about what the other was saying, and that an FBI agent lied about his investigation.
"McAllister's representation of Edgar Steele was clouded, distorted and diminished by the conflict of interest arising from his concerns about his own pending disbarment and prosecution," the complaint states.
Steele claims Amandola was negligent because he knew of McAllister's deficiencies, but did nothing about them.
Steele seeks damages for negligence, breach of contract, breach faith, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and deception, and tortious interference with prospective economic advantage.
He is represented by Wesley Hoyt, of Clearwater.
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