Fourth Week Of Order Trial Begins
SEATTLE (AP) _ The federal government’s racketeering case against The Order continues this week with testimony about the most active period of the militant, Nazi-like group’s alleged crime campaign.
In three weeks of trial, jurors in U.S. District Court have heard sweeping accounts from former Order members outlining the group’s activities from its founding in the fall of 1983 to its downfall last December.
Prosecutors contend the 10 defendants and 13 others committed crimes from murder to counterfeiting as a way to support a racist campaign to establish an Aryan homeland - a ″White American Bastion″ - free from Jews and racial minorities.
Jurors also heard testimony about The Order’s alleged initial stabs at crime, including counterfeiting, a pair of bank robberies, and a holdup of an adult book store that netted about $370.
Friday, the government began presenting evidence of a non-functional bomb planted at a Seattle Safeway grocery store on March 16, 1984. That was the same day Order members allegedly staged a $43,345 armored-car robbery at a nearby Fred Meyer store.
Earlier testimony indicated an almost identical device was planted at a Spokane store at the same time one of the bank robberies was committed.
Neither of those bombs was directly linked in testimony to the 10 defendants, and neither is among the formal charges in the government’s 21- count indictment.
But on April 23, 1984, Order members allegedly staged a half-million-dollar armored-car robbery at a Seattle shopping center. The day before, a bomb exploded at a downtown adult movie theater, and that incident is charged against five defendants as being an apparent diversion tactic for the robbery.
In addition to those armored-car robberies, the government says Order members killed two people and staged a third armored-car heist from March to July 1984.
The government’s 21-count indictment lists 67 individual crimes allegedly committed by Order members, including the machine-gun death of Denver radio host Alan Berg and the killing of Walter West, an Order member allegedly considered a security threat.
Eleven people have pleaded guilty in the case, one is still at large and another is jailed in Missouri on a murder charge.
Also Friday, an Idaho laborer who joined The Order at its beginning denied stories that the group started out with plans to assassinate prominent people and commit other major crimes.
″It hurts me dearly to hear that kind of slander has taken place,″ Daniel R. Bauer said.
Other former Order members who turned state’s evidence had told how the Order assigned its members assassination targets, including Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller.
Asked by defense attorney Tony Savage whether assassination targets were assigned at an early Order founding meeting, Bauer replied, ″That’s a total distortion of what took place.″
Bauer said group members discussed finding legitimate work to earn money, and mentioned robbery and counterfeiting only peripherally.
Bue he also said he helped scout possible robbery targets in Seattle, and drove the getaway car for a robbery at a Spokane adult book store.
Bauer, who was not indicted, pleaded guilty Sept. 13 in Boise, Idaho, to receiving $100,000 from an armored car robbery allegedly staged by The Order near Ukiah, Calif.