An Idaho man has been sentenced to seven days in jail for shouting the “N” word in an angry outburst directed at a black man who accosted his wife.

Earlier this month, a jury acquitted Lonny Rae of felony “hate crime” but found him liable of assault for having hurled the epithet. City and county prosecutors refused to charge the black man with any crime.

Rae has appealed his case and says he’s willing to fight it all the way the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I’m innocent. They bashed my name and my wife’s name – they nearly destroyed our lives. We were a toy to them. What they did was wrong. The criminal was let go because he was black and they were afraid of him. They overlooked the law,” Rae told WorldNetDaily.

The October 2000 confrontation happened in the small town of Council in southern Idaho at a high school football game. Rae’s wife, Kimberly, bookkeeper and a freelance reporter for the local newspaper, the Adams County Record, had taken a photograph after the game of one of the referees. Kenneth Manley, of Boise, Idaho, objected to his picture being taken and grabbed Mrs. Rae from behind in an attempt to take her camera. The neck strap prevented him from securing the camera and caused Mrs. Rae to sustain bruises and a neck injury, for which she was later treated.

Lonny responded to Kimberly’s screams, shoving Manley away from his wife. Then a school official escorted Manley and the other referees into the locker room inside the school.

Outside the building entrance, Rae shouted, “Tell that nigger to get out here, ‘cuz I’m a gonna kick his butt.” Receiving no response to Lonny’s verbal challenge, the Raes contacted the police and demanded they charge Manley with assault and battery.

“I saw the man had a hold of my wife. He admitted it in court. His exact words were: ‘She was in my space and I tried to take the camera away. I wanted that film.’ And they still refuse to charge him and drop the charges against me,” said Rae. Manley reportedly stands 6’3″ tall and weighs upwards of 230 pounds. In contrast, Kimberly is 5’3″ tall.

According to telephone-records officials, Manley no longer resides in Idaho and could not be reached for comment.

The Idaho Athletic Association, which had assigned the referees to the game, subsequently placed Council High School on a year’s probation due to the officials having suffered “fan abuse.” The local school board barred both the Raes from the school grounds during Idaho Athletic Association sanctioned games for a year, although their two daughters were then enrolled. An article appeared in the Adams County Record about the incident, in which school officials blamed the Raes for the probation.

Two days later, Lonny Rae was charged with a misdemeanor under Idaho’s “hate-crime” law, known as the “Malicious Harassment” statute. Media from the surrounding area converged on the town to cover the “hate crime,” painting Rae as a racist and a bully. When advertisers threatened to pull their dollars out of the Daily Record, Kimberley Rae offered to be laid off. At the same time, Lonny’s contract construction work dried up, with clients canceling jobs. Evicted from their trailer home and essentially black-balled by the community, the Raes ultimately moved.

One day before the trial was to begin, the Raes learned prosecution of the case had been handed over by the city to the Adams County prosecutor, and the charge against him was elevated to a full felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

A call to the Adams County prosecutor’s office was not immediately returned, and an answering-machine message indicated “we are out of the office until Friday.”

‘Hate crime’ and ‘thought police’

The case caught the attention of Attorney Ed Steele, who is representing Rae on a pro bono basis.

“I said at the time, ‘This is another clear case of local government run amuck, just as with so many other recent Idaho cases that have achieved national profiles. Lonny Rae is being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness so that Idaho can be seen as the so-called Human Rights State and to counter recent negative publicity garnered from the McGuckin, Aryan Nations and Ruby Ridge affairs,'” said Steele.

Steele says his primary goal is to overturn “hate-crime” law.

“These hate crime statutes generally have been deemed not to violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. However, some actual criminal act in conjunction with the hate speech is required before one can be charged. We haven’t yet reached the point of criminalizing mere speech or thought. … The ‘Adams County thought police’ have applied Idaho’s little-used Malicious Harassment statute in such a way as to achieve that very result in Lonny Rae’s case. Thus, while the statute may be constitutional, its usage by the Adams County thought police is clearly unconstitutional and an affront to all who value the right to speak their mind without fear of government interference.”

“‘Hate words’ according to the Idaho legislature,” Rae told WorldNetDaily, “are nigger, spook, gook, dike, fag, chink, spic – there’s not one of them in there relating to white people. There ain’t ‘cracker’ or ‘honkey.’ So I say to myself, this is a law for minorities only, and that violates equal protection.”

“My very best friend was a black kid. He lived with me and my mom growing up. He got stabbed by other blacks for associating with whites,” Rae continued. “This ordeal has almost made me racist. To be honest. I still have a hard time explaining to my kids why our lives were torn apart because this black guy attacked their mother (they saw the injuries) and nothing happens to him. My kids are being taught that blacks can get away with anything.”

Just before trial, Steele developed evidence that another football league had suspended Manley from being a referee for a violent interchange between him and others, an interchange that he provoked. In that case, according to Steele, Manley claimed that others hurled racial slurs at him, which many witnesses stepped forward to prove false during the trial.

‘Broken’ legal system

After a two-day trial, the jury acquitted Rae of the “hate crime.” The jurors found him guilty of assault, however, a crime for which he was never charged. Idaho District Court Judge Stephen Drescher had included the charges of assault and disturbing the peace in his jury instructions as “lesser-included offenses.” According to Steele, it is nearly always up to the prosecutor to insist upon the inclusion of “lesser-included offenses” at trial, and the defense is well aware of their existence so that a case can be prepared against them.

“It is virtually unheard of for a judge to include them on his own motion, and certainly never at the last moment, as in this case,” said Steele. “In fact, after the trial was over, Dan Gabbert, the prosecutor, told me that he specifically left assault and disturbing the peace out because he didn’t want the jury taking the easy way out and nailing Lonny Rae for what amounted to no more than a very minor offense. He wanted the felony conviction or nothing at all.”

Judge Drescher told WorldNetDaily he was simply following the law.

“Idaho statute (IC.19-2132) requires that judges include in the jury instructions all and any reasonable construction of acts regardless of whether either of the parties ask for them.”

At the sentencing, Judge Drescher sternly remarked from the bench that Rae “deserved some retribution” for his conduct and that it was important that “sports officials be protected from unruly bystanders.”

In summing up the case for WorldNetDaily, Judge Drescher says, “It struck me more that it’s an ordinary referee harassment case than anything else and that both sides inflamed the case.”

“The way I see it, what the judge did was illegal,” remarked Rae. “How far are we going to bend the law until it’s broken?”

“The legal system is irretrievably and irredeemably broken. And you’ll never use it to fix itself either,” concluded Steele.

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