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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: Edgar Steele

Edgar Steele dies in prison at age 69

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — Edgar Steele, who once represented Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler in a lawsuit that bankrupted the white supremacist group, has died in federal prison in California. Steele was 69. Steele was serving a 50-year sentence at the federal prison in Victorville, California, after he was convicted of plotting to kill his wife. The prison website listed him as dying on Thursday. No other details were immediately available. Steele's wife, Cyndi, never believed that her husband was involved in a murder-for-hire scheme. But a Boise jury convicted Steele of four felonies for paying his handyman to kill Steele's wife and mother-in-law with a car bomb. Butler hired the northern Idaho attorney in 2000 to defend Aryan Nations from a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Edgar Steele files malpractice lawsuit against his lawyers

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A north Idaho attorney convicted in an unsuccessful murder-for-hire scheme has filed a malpractice lawsuit aimed at the lawyers who represented him in his federal trial. Sixty-eight-year-old Edgar Steele was convicted in 2011 for hiring a handyman to plant a car bomb to kill Steele's wife and her mother. Steele is the former attorney for the founder of the Aryan Nations and is serving a 50-year term in prison. In a lawsuit filed in Ada County, the Idaho Statesman reports ( ) that Steele complains his trial defense was impaired specifically by the malpractice of Robert McAllister of Denver. One month after Steele's conviction, McAllister was disbarred and convicted on fraud charges. Steele argues McAllister was too clouded and distracted by his own legal problems to be an effective lawyer.

9th Circuit rejects Edgar Steele’s appeal

A federal appeals court has rejected an appeal from Edgar Steele, the self-proclaimed “attorney for the damned” from North Idaho, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the attempted murder-for-hire of his wife. Steele claimed improper jury instructions and other errors in his conviction, but a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected those claims in a decision issued today. “There was no error in the instruction, plain or otherwise,” the court found. It also ruled that the U.S. District Court in Idaho didn’t err when it didn’t take up Steele’s claim of improper assistance of counsel before conviction; that can be considered in post-conviction proceedings, the court ruled.

A federal jury convicted Steele of four felonies for paying a handyman in silver to kill his wife and mother-in-law with a car bomb. Steele maintained the whole thing was a government conspiracy, and that audiotapes of him discussing the plot with the handyman were fabricated; you can read my full story here at

Steele gets 50 years in murder plot

Former attorney for the Aryan Nations Edgar Steele was sentenced to 50 years in prison today for a foiled murder-for-hire plot that targeted his wife and mother-in-law, reports S-R reporter Meghann Cuniff from Coeur d'Alene, who reports that Steele gave an hour-and-a-half-long rant to the court, calling case a vast conspiracy by the federal government, the Anti-Defamation league, and the Russian mafia to silence him for his political views and legal work. “I, too, am a victim. My entire family is a victim. In fact, all of American society is a victim in this case,” declared Steele, 66. U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill said it’s “human temptation” to respond to claims about government corruption but it’s best not to. In Steele’s case, “a conspiracy can only be found if you ignore the facts and your world view dictates that there’s a conspiracy everywhere,” Winmill said; you can read Cuniff's full report here at

Steele convicted on all four counts

A federal jury in Boise has returned its verdict, and North Idaho lawyer Edgar Steele has been convicted on all four counts in a murder-for-hire plot. You can read S-R reporter Meghann Cuniff's full story here at

Edgar Steele case nears finish

Lawyers in the Edgar Steele murder-for-hire trial could give closing arguments as early as Wednesday, reports S-R reporter Meghann Cuniff. Defense lawyers are trying to secure the appearance of an audio expert to question the authenticity of FBI recordings in which Steele discusses with handyman Larry Fairfax the plan to kill his wife, Cyndi Steele, but their expert, George Papcun, currently is vacationing with his wife in Bora Bora; lawyers are scrambling to fly him back. Steele himself, a self-described “attorney for the damned” who's represented controversial clients and is charged with a plot to kill his wife and mother-in-law, may still testify as the case wraps up in federal court in Boise. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said the case likely will be with the jury by Thursday morning; you can read Megann's full report here at; there's more on the case at her Sirens & Gavels blog here.

Steele saga unfolds in court…

Wild stuff continues to come out in the Edgar Steele murder-for-hire trial in federal court in Boise; here' s a link to today's full story from S-R reporter Meghann Cuniff, which includes testimony from Steele's wife, Cyndi, the victim of the alleged plot; she defends her husband and maintains he's innocent. There's more at Meghann's “Sirens and Gavels” blog here, including today's revelation that Steele sent more than 14,000 emails to European women through a Ukrainian online dating site.

First day of murder-for-hire trial a doozy

The first day of the Edgar Steele murder-for-hire trial in federal court today was a doozy. After opening arguments, initial witnesses included Larry Fairfax, the hit man-turned-FBI-informant, who told the court, “Mr. Steele was getting agitated, and he said if i didn't take care of the job he would find someone else to do the job, and me.” Jurors also listened to tapes of conversations between Steele and Fairfax about a plot to murder Steele's wife, Cyndi, and her mother.

In the first conversation, on June 9, Steele is heard agreeing to give Fairfax a $400 “advance” to pay for his trip to Oregon City, where Cyndi Steele was visiting her mother. Steele tells Fairfax, “I'll take it out of your … hide; you gotta get this job done.” He said a car crash could trigger an insurance policy payment. “You've got a big payday riding on this one. I've set it up that way on purpose,” Steele says; you can read more on S-R reporter Meghann Cuniff's “Sirens and Gavels” blog here.

Steele trial revs up in federal court

There's pretty wild stuff coming out in federal court in Boise today at the Edgar Steele murder-for-hire trial; you can read about it at S-R reporter Meghann Cuniff's “Sirens and Gavels” blog here. In federal prosecutor Marc Haws' opening argument, he told the jury it'll hear tapes of Steele discussing the plot to kill his wife, Cyndi, with hit man-turned-FBI-informant Larry Fairfax. Asked by Fairfax if he has any second thoughts, “Mr. Steele says, 'Have you seen a second thought in me yet?'” Haws told the court. Also on the tape, he said Steele says, “I want this over with. There ain't no second thoughts.”

Steele's wife is supporting his innocence claim; the two say it's all a government set-up. A pipe bomb was found attached to the bottom of Mrs. Steele's car when she took it in for an oil change in Coeur d'Alene. The defense is now giving its opening arguments; today is the Steeles' 26th wedding anniversary.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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