Podcaster says he fled Canada after being “marked to death”

A man whose behavior was seen by a judge as “a hateful example of hate speech at its worst,” said he was fleeing Canada before being arrested in America this week because he was “scarred with dead”.

Kevin J. Johnston has appeared in court before for spreading racist material targeting an Ontario restaurateur and, separately, for blasting Alberta health officials over their pandemic restrictions.

On Wednesday, he offered an explanation of his latest actions in a statement written the day before and released through his lawyer.

“Recently, I learned of a fatwa after being attacked on Christmas Eve, when I went into hiding to stay safe,” the statement read.

“Being marked to death in my own country was the last straw, that’s when I knew I had to go. … I hoped to find refuge in the United States, where I could express my opinions.

His statement contained links to his websites, but no other evidence of the threats.

A day earlier, Johnston was due to start serving an 18-month sentence for contempt in Ontario, just after completing a 40-day intermittent sentence in Alberta.

Instead, he was arrested after crossing the border into the United States, having entered Montana illegally from Saskatchewan, authorities said.

His trip appears to have been plagued by problems.

April LaJune, a right-wing YouTuber, said in a video made on Tuesday that she was on her way to help an anonymous person coming to the United States with her asylum claim.

“As he was going to enter the United States, he got lost, I mean, lost. I’m talking about, like, really lost, ”LaJune says in the video. “We couldn’t find him.

Fearing for her safety in the freezing weather, LaJune said, she called the border patrol for help.

Johnston was picked up by border patrol officers near the Montana-North Dakota state border, US Customs and Border Protection said.

Then, on her YouTube show Wednesday, LaJune confirmed that it was Johnston that she was helping. She said Johnston didn’t know how to share his location and was ill-prepared for the trip, leaving without a flashlight, thermal blanket and other supplies.

“You can’t sail next to the stars when it’s covered in clouds,” she said in Tuesday’s video.

His version of events has not been confirmed by Johnston.

LaJune did not accept a request to talk about the events, instead offering the Star to come on her show to talk about it, which the Star declined.

The contempt charges against Johnston – who ran for mayor in Calgary last year and Mississauga in 2014 and 2018 – stem from two separate court cases. In one, he was admitted to defaming a Mississauga restaurateur with racist online content in what observers described as a landmark decision against hate speech. Another defamation case involved statements against Alberta Health Services.

He was supposed to finish serving his sentence in Alberta for violating court orders related to the libel case, then report to Ontario, but did not serve his last weekend in a prison in the Alberta and an arrest warrant has been issued for him, authorities said.

His lawyer, Ian McCuaig, said Johnston had been turned over to Canadian authorities and was being held by the RCMP in Weyburn, Saskatchewan.

McCuaig said his client would likely return to Calgary to complete his sentence in Alberta before traveling to Ontario. He could face other charges as well, McCuaig said.

Johnston still has an assault charge in court related to an incident in the parking lot of a Dawson Creek grocery store last year. He said he fled for his own safety.

“I have had to appear in court more than 266 times and have served five months in prison for defending conservative political views. I also suffered frequent physical attacks from members of ANTIFA, ”the statement read.

In 2019, a judge ordered Johnston to stop making defamatory statements against Mohamad Fakih and pay $ 2.5 million in damages. He had not paid when he was sentenced in October and had continued to defame Fakih.

In the 2019 summary judgment, Ontario Superior Court Judge Jane E. Ferguson called Johnston’s behavior a “hateful example of hate speech at its height, targeting people purely on the basis of their religion.” .

Johnston was sentenced in Ontario on October 4 and is expected to start serving his sentence on Tuesday.

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