Lawyer who Defended Aryan Nations, Jailed for Plot to Kill Wife, Dies in Prison

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North Idaho attorney Edgar Steele, who was serving 50 years behind bars for a 2010 plot to murder his own wife, died Sept. 4 in federal prison in Victorville, Calif. 

Steele, 69, was best known for defending the Aryan Nations in the 2000 civil suit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center that ultimately bankrupted the racist organization, resulting in the sale of its Hayden Lake compound and dispersal of its members. His associations with white supremacy included serving as a spokesman for white-power female pop duo Prussian Blue and publishing the 2005 book, Defensive Racism: An Unapologetic Examination of Racial Differences. He was also a featured speaker at events like Aryanfest and the Institute for Historical Review, which hosted a conference for Holocaust deniers. 

According to reports, information on the manner of Steele's death is still pending, though he had been suffering ill health.

In 2010 Steele was convicted of four felonies related to his hiring of a handyman to kill his wife, Cyndi Steele, and her mother with a car bomb. He was arrested after the handyman, Larry Fairfax, told the FBI of the plot and agreed to record a meeting with Steele in which the details of the plan were discussed.

The bomb was later found attached to Cyndi Steele's car, and Fairfax was arrested as well. He served a 27-month jail sentence followed by home confinement in 2012.

Steele's wife, though she filed for divorce in 2000, has long maintained that her husband was not involved in the murder plot. Steele's arrest, trial and conviction have been challenged not only by his wife, but various conspiracy and white supremacy groups, including former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke.