DENVER, NOV. 17 -- A federal jury convicted two neo-Nazis tonight on charges stemming from the murder of a Jewish radio personality here but acquitted two others accused of helping them.
White supremacists Bruce Pierce, 33, and David Lane, 48, were found guilty of violating the civil rights of Denver talk-show host Alan Berg, who was gunned down gangland-style in his driveway in June 1984.
Richard Scutari, 40, and Jean Craig, 54, were found not guilty. Both were closely linked to The Order, the violent Idaho-based neo-Nazi group to which Pierce and Lane belong.
Prosecutors had charged that Pierce shot Berg, who died of 13 bullet wounds from a machine gun, and that Lane drove the getaway car. Scutari and Craig were said to have helped plan the crime but were not placed at the scene.
The government said The Order stalked and killed Berg because of his outspoken criticism of anti-Semitic groups during his radio broadcasts.
All four defendants in the Berg case were convicted last year in a federal trial in Seattle charging The Order with violating federal racketeering laws. Pierce and Lane each could receive an additional life sentence; Scutari and Craig also will return to prison.
The Seattle case and the trial here are facets of a broad federal crackdown on neo-Nazi violence. The final act of the government's campaign, called Operation Clean Sweep, is expected early next year when alleged leaders of the hate movement go on trial in Fort Smith, Ark., on federal sedition charges
The targets of Clean Sweep are a relatively small band -- fewer than 1,000 people nationwide, according to federal agents -- of white Christians who maintain that the United States is supposed to be an Aryan nation and that Jews, blacks and other minorities are corrupting government, finance and religion.
The four white supremacists tried here were brought to court on the federal civil rights charge after the Denver district attorney, Norm Early, declined to bring a murder charge. Early said then that there were no eyewitnesses and that all evidence was circumstantial.
In the federal trial, prosecutors produced evidence showing that the four defendants, all outspoken anti-Semites, planned Berg's murder and then bragged about the deed afterward. Defense lawyers tried to discredit the government's witnesses, arguing that several were one-time neo-Nazis who had struck deals with the prosecution.
Michael Katz, the Denver lawyer who represented Jean Craig, said the acquittal of his client and Scutari probably resulted from "a lack of evidence to show . . . they had a definite role in the crime." Craig's daughter testified against her, saying that Craig had spied on Berg.