Appeals court upholds Steele conviction

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected an appeal from Edgar Steele, the former lawyer for Aryan Nations who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the attempted murder-for-hire of his wife.

Steele contended there were improper jury instructions and other errors in his conviction.

But The Spokesman-Review reported that the appeals court rejected those claims in a decision issued Thursday.

A federal jury in 2011 convicted Steele of four felonies for paying a handyman to kill his wife and mother-in-law with a car bomb. Steele maintained the whole thing was a government conspiracy, and that audio tapes of him discussing the plot with the handyman were fabricated.

Steele defended Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler in a civil case that bankrupted the racist group.

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