Edgar Steele, First Amendment Martyr, Dies in Prison Under Mysterious Circumstances

37_Steele_Dies• “Attorney for the Damned,” who represented some of the most controversial figures in America, dies in prison custody. By Dave Gahary —Edgar J. Steele, who was born July 5, 1945, passed away behind bars on September 4, 2014, at the age of 69. Steele, an author and celebrated First Amendment attorney who gained national notoriety defending Richard G. Butler, the founder of the group Aryan Nations, died at United States Penitentiary, Victorville (USP Victorville), California, a  high-security federal prison for male inmates. An inmate search on the prison’s website for Mr. Steele revealed the following:EDGAR JAMES STEELE Register Number: 14226-023 Age: 69 Race: White Sex: Male Deceased: 09/04/2014

On the website “Free Edgar Steele,” a post on the home page reads:


Today, September 4, 2014, early afternoon, a California mortuary notified Mrs. Cyndi Steele that her husband Edgar was dead. Since that time, specific circumstances regarding Mr. Steele’s death are being confirmed. This web site and the Edgar Steele Defense Fund (ESDF) will release more information as it becomes available.

Mrs. Steele contacted the ESDF Board, saying she was utterly devastated by this information, and is furious that no Victorville representative contacted her in the last few days regarding his failing health and did not even call her regarding the death of her husband. It was cruel to allow the mortuary to make the call.

Based on the best knowledge at hand, the following are the most likely causes of death: overmedication, persistently delayed, insufficient or improper medical treatment, medical neglect. The federal government and Victorville Penitentiary bear responsibility for the lives of the inmates who reside there and have refused to be accountable for the decline in Edgar Steele’s health.

Some hours before Mrs. Steele was contacted by the mortuary, ESDF President Robert Magnuson received an email corroborating Ms. Steele’s concern for her husband’s health and safety, validating the suspicion Mr. Steele’s health had been in a sharp decline for the past month. This fact was obscured, if not hidden by the federal government.

First, Mr. Steele was the victim of a false prosecution, then he was imprisoned in the most dangerous prison here in America. Then his wife was never allowed to visit him despite a court order allowing visitation. Then, his health was compromised because of neglect, and finally, the reports came in that he had been drugged out of his mind earlier this week, which was the final blow that killed him. Call it anything else you like, but it is murder.

The facts of this tragic situation will be disclosed as the information is gathered.

Steele, who was a target of the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, has proclaimed his innocence to this newspaper over several occasions through audio interviews conducting from prison. This reporter interviewed Mr. Steele in April, 2010, his first interview since his conviction, which can be heard below. Additional audio interviews will be made available through this website when they are processed.



Comment (1)

  1. Connie LaRue

    I have two comments about Mr. Steele’s imprisonment.
    1. When he was in prison in Spokane, Washington I tried to visit him and was told that he did not want visitors other than his immediate family, and that they took all of his visitation time. That turned out to be a lie.
    2. Regarding the most likely causes of death, I would like to see exactly what drugs Mr. Steele was being given; the time and doses of each. Medical neglect is a serious possibility. During my time in jail I saw one woman suffer a heat stroke, causing her to lapse into unconsciousness, fall from the top bunk onto a concrete floor, hitting her head on a metal foot locker at the head of the bed below. She was taken away and never returned. We were unable to learn of her condition, or even if she had died as the result of this fall. I also was best friends with a woman who was so cold due to insufficient clothing and bedding, that she contracted pneumonia. Her pleas to the jailers for antihistamines, antibiotics and a medical appointment went unanswered. She died one night, leaving five children behind and homeless.

    My experience was that the jailers found it laughable that they were comfortable and the prisoners were made to suffer all manner of insult and abuse: physical, emotional, psychological.

    It is very sad to me that we have lost another brave patriot, one who was not afraid to speak up and speak out, to tell the world what he thought, even if it was not politically correct. My heart goes out to Mr. Steele’s family, especially to his wife who stood by him while the government destroyed him. May she walk with God.

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