Charles H. Turner (attorney)

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For other people of the same name, see Charles Turner.
Charles H. Turner
United States Attorney for the District of Oregon
In office
Circa 1982 – 1993
Nominated by President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Sidney I. Lezak
Succeeded by Kristine Olson
Personal details
Born 1936

Charles H. Turner (born 1936) is a former United States Attorney for the District of Oregon. Prior to his presidential appointment as U.S. Attorney, Turner worked under his predecessor, Sidney I. Lezak, for 14 years. He was appointed as Lezak's replacement by President Ronald Reagan.

As U.S. Attorney, Turner investigated sham marriages and immigration fraud organized by followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (now known as Osho) in Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, as well as other illegal activities including the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack in The Dalles, Oregon. In 1985, high-ranking followers of Rajneesh plotted to murder Turner, carrying out steps including assembling a team, purchasing weapons, and performing surveillance on his office, home and car. Seven followers of Rajneesh were later convicted of conspiracy to assassinate him.

While U.S. Attorney, Turner hired prosecutors Michael Mosman and Mark Bailey; both would later go on to serve as U.S. Attorney for Oregon. He retired in 1993, and was succeeded by Kristine Olson, who he had previously supervised as U.S. Attorney.

Assistant to prior U.S. Attorney[edit]

Turner served as an assistant to his predecessor, Sidney I. Lezak, for 14 years.[1] He was once registered as a Republican, but by 1981 he was registered as an independent voter.[1] In December 1981, Turner was favored by the Reagan Administration to replace Lezak,[1] and was successfully appointed by President Ronald Reagan.[2] By 1982, Turner was the U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.[3]

U.S. Attorney[edit]

As U.S. Attorney, Turner investigated sham marriages organized by the Rajneeshees (followers of charismatic leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, now known as Osho) in Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, as well as other illegal activities including wiretapping, immigration fraud, and the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack in Antelope, Oregon.[4][5]

In 1985, high-ranking followers of Rajneesh plotted to murder Turner.[6][7] The perpetrators carried out steps including assembling a team of conspirators,[4] creating a hit-list of individuals to assassinate including Turner and other Oregon officials,[8] acquiring false identification,[9] purchasing weapons out-of-state,[10] and performing surveillance on Turner's office, home and car.[11] Seven followers of Rajneesh were convicted of conspiracy to assassinate Turner.[4][12] Turner later commented on how the assassination plot against him by followers of Rajneesh had affected him: "This was a lying-in-wait conspiracy to murder me, a presidential appointee, and for a long time I slept with a loaded gun beside my bed."[4]

In 1988, Turner hired attorney Michael Mosman as a prosecutor related to illegal activities on tribal lands in Oregon – Mosman would go on to be confirmed by the United States Senate as U.S. attorney for Oregon in 2001.[13] Turner commented of hiring Mosman: "He had excellent skills beyond his age and was going to be a first-class lawyer."[13] Turner hired another attorney who would go on to become U.S. Attorney for Oregon, Mark Bailey, who had previously worked out of the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston, Texas.[14] Turner served as a federal prosecutor for 17 years,[15] and retired in 1993.[14] Kristine Olson succeeded Turner as U.S. Attorney for Oregon; she had previously worked under Turner but resigned in 1984 after disagreement with Turner over her methods.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Turner is a longtime close friend of Michael Schrunk, the chief prosecutor in Multnomah County, Oregon since 1980.[17] In 2007 Turner resided in Washington.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Turner, Wallace (December 6, 1981). "Oregon's U.S. Attorney Since '61 Leaving Job". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). 
  2. ^ Reinhard, David (December 21, 2000). "Kris Olson Bipartisan Poster Girl?". The Oregonian (Oregonian Publishing Co.). p. C09. 
  3. ^ Associated Press (August 11, 1982). "Killer of Mass. Policeman Faces Charges In 4 States". Boston Globe (Globe Newspaper Company). 
  4. ^ a b c d McKenna, Michael (February 2, 2006). "Mercy for expat in US kill plot". The Australian. 
  5. ^ Gordon, James S. (1987). The Golden Guru – The Strange Journey of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The Stephen Greene Press. pp. 181–182, 209–210. ISBN 0-8289-0630-0. 
  6. ^ Associated Press (December 17, 2000). "Ex-Cult Members Plead To Charges". The Columbian (The Columbian Publishing Co.). p. C5. 
  7. ^ Hogan, Dave (July 11, 1995). "Follower Testifies She Would Do Anything For Rajneesh". The Oregonian (Oregonian Publishing Co.). p. B03. 
  8. ^ Hidlay, Skip (November 2, 1985). "3 Allegedly Planned Hit List, Paper Reports". The Charlotte Observer. p. 17A. 
  9. ^ The Seattle Times staff (November 3, 1985). "Assassination Plot By Ex-Rajneeshees Reported - Portland Paper Says 9 on 'Hit List,' Including 5 Officials". The Seattle Times. p. E8. 
  10. ^ Tucker, Jonathan B. (2000). Toxic Terror: Assessing Terrorist Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons. MIT Press. p. 136. ISBN 0-262-70071-9. 
  11. ^ Larabee, Mark (December 16, 2000). "Two Rajneeshee members plead guilty: Sally-Anne Croft and Susan Hagan return to the United States to face 15-year-old wiretapping charges". The Oregonian. 
  12. ^ Staff (September 30, 2005). "Good riddance to Rajneeshpuram". Yakima Herald-Republic. 
  13. ^ a b Associated Press (October 23, 2001). "Terrorist attacks mean changes for new U.S. attorney". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 11A. 
  14. ^ a b Larabee, Mark (December 3, 1996). "Family, Farm Detour Career". The Oregonian (Oregonian Publishing Co.). p. D04. 
  15. ^ a b Pope, Charles (March 16, 2007). "Pressure Grows On Justice Staff To Explain 'Purge' - Senate Panel Votes To Issue Subpoenas In Firings". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. A1. 
  16. ^ Green, Ashbel S. (November 29, 1998). "She's Looked At Law From Both Sides Now". The Oregonian (Oregonian Publishing Co.). p. L01. 
  17. ^ Griffin, Anna; Arthur Gregg Sulzberger (March 22, 2009). "Influential Multnomah County prosecutor guards his privacy: Unopposed for office since 1992, Mike Schrunk has reshaped the criminal justice system as a political policeman of sorts - The case of the discreet DA". The Oregonian (Oregonian Publishing Co.). p. Section: Local News. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Sidney I. Lezak
United States Attorney for the District of Oregon
Circa 1982 - 1993
Succeeded by
Kristine Olson