Left: NSM's Bill White on the witness stand in Common Pleas Court
(Toledo, OH) National Socialist Movement (NSM) spokesperson Bill White arrived in Toledo today to appear before Common Pleas judge Thomas Osowik as a defendant in the city's successful request for a temporary restraining order and injunction against the NSM and counter-protesters.
Also in the audience, but not participating in the proceedings, were a dozen members of various anti-fascist organizations that I have met, or who I recognized from previous functions.
Violators of the order, which restricts pro- and anti-Nazi demonstrations at tomorrow's rally to the area in and around One Government Center, face arrest on contempt of court charges and fines of up to $25,000 per hour.
White represented himself in the proceedings, and acted in an unofficial capacity on behalf of the NSM. While unfamiliar with many court procedures, and visibly nervous, he handled himself surprisingly well.
There were some moments in White's testimony where his credibility wavered. One of the most egregious of these occurred when White denied writing articles posted on his website Overthrow.com, which the city submitted as evidence.
"Did you write the article entitled: 'NSM To March To March Against Nigger Gang Crime In Toledo?'" asked Adam Loukx, senior city attorney.
"We have over 1300 writers who contribute to Overthrow," he said. "I only know their screen names."
What White left out of this statement is that the "1300 writers" would be posters on the Overthrow forums. Bill is the editor and writer of the main posts, unless he is posting an article. He is always quick to provide attribution.
There were a number of interesting revelations in the court testimony. White placed some distance between himself and NSM operative Mark Martin.
"Mark Martin is a good comrade, but he is no longer in a position to communicate in an official capacity for the NSM," said White. "He has something of a temper."
Statements by Martin seemed to be an important part of the city's case. Police chief Mike Navarre said that Martin has repeatedly threatened to lead NSM in marches through Toledo.
“Martin indicated to me that if things weren’t done the way that he wanted, he would march down the streets,” he said. “He wanted us to separate the different groups of counter – protesters into separate zones. If the counter-protesters were not separated, then the NSM would march through the neighborhoods.”
Navarre also indicated that Martin threatened to have the NSM come back unannounced, and they "had boots and knew how to march and defend themselves."
Mike Navarre noted that there is a high likelihood of organized gang activty tomorrow, and that federal intelligence indicated that abandoned homes may be set afire to protest the city allowing the NSM to return.
After the court proceedings, a knowledgeable source called me with a cryptic comment about December 10.
"Toledo will burn and people will shop," he said, declining to be more specific.
Addendum, 8:00 PM: Bill White went on the NSM mouthpiece Von Bluvens show and made some bizarre statements about his visit to Osowik's courtroom. He said that Toledo officials "were in tears," and that he "destroyed" the city's attorneys. He called the Toledo Police "treacherous," and said that Mike Navarre was "lying to save his job."
White claimed to Von Bluvens that the NSM made themselves look good to the media, and he estimated that there were 40 media members in the room.
Uh, Bill? There weren't even 40 total people in the room. The media actually numbered about a dozen: a few TV crews, one Blade photographer, a couple of writers, and me. Add to that a dozen police, a dozen antifa, Ron Riehl, an unidentified skinhead, and the court personnel.
And the buzz among the media was not very kind to you, Bill, especially the African American media members who you offended with your tirades.
I suppose I should not be surprised by White's spin, but it is surreal to see the live court action, sitting six feet from White, and to hear him get on the podcast and lie his ass off.
I have to weigh in further. Bill White is not a lawyer, and he is very bright, but he spent all of his time trying to argue First Amendment case law. He completely missed the point of the city's argument, which was that the city's responsibility to maintain order justifies restrictions on free speech.
During questioning, White kept drifting into monologues until Osowik would cut him off. He spent much of his time repeating the same lies he has been regurgitating on Overthrow, like "Toledo Police officers were running away, throwing down their weapons, and screaming because they had not received proper training."
White did not embarass himself in the courtroom, but the idea that he "destroyed" the city's case is ludicrous. The scary part is that White sounded like he actually believed the lies he told Michael Blevins (aka Von Bluvens) on the podcast.