COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - North Idaho attorney Edgar Steele, defiant to the end, blamed everyone from the Anti-Defamation League to the FBI and the Russian Mafia for his conviction in a murder-for-hire plot as he was sentenced to 600 months in prison Wednesday morning.
Steele was given the 50-year sentence for his role in a murder-for-hire plot to kill his wife Cyndi. Steele was convicted of hiring Larry Fairfax to plant a pipe bomb on his wife's car earlier this year. Authorities found a pipe bomb attached to his wife's car when she took it to a mechanic to get the oil changed. They also had audio recordings of Steele offering Fairfax thousands of dollars to kill his wife.
But Steele maintained, in an interview earlier this month with KXLY, that he was not at fault for the attempted pipe bombing, saying there was a vast conspiracy against him that led to his arrest. He claimed that Fairfax, who Steele described as an "oafish, North Idaho handyman", stole silver from his home then planted pipe bombs on his car in an attempt to kill him.
"I had told him about my difficulties politically with the ADL and the SPLC and the FBI," Steele said about his conversations with Fairfax. "He knew about all that. All he had to do is make one phone call to be drafted into a scheme to put me down.... He's shrewd like a weasel. Not real bright, but shrewd and conniving."
Steele, who is 64 years old, said earlier this month that no matter the length of the sentence he received it would be tantamount to a death sentence for him.
"At my age, 10 years in prison is a death sentence. It doesn't matter what they give me," Steele said. "Hell, give me a thousand years, Judge. Put me in the Guiness Book of World Records - it doesn't matter to me!" He echoed those sentiments to the judge today, almost verbatim.
Before sentencing, Cyndi Steele was given the opportunity to address the court in what is typically referred to as a victim impact statement. But, it was clear from the beginning of her half-hour long address, she doesn't believe she's the victim of her husband because her husband "didn't do anything wrong." Cyndi says she was pressured by government agents and "lied to" to try and make her turn against her husband. She asked the judge to "free my husband so he can come home where he belongs."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Traci Whelan told the court, the charges aren't any less serious just because Cyndi doesn't believe them.
Edgar Steele was also given a chance to address the court before sentencing. Steele began his allocution by telling the judge his statement would be lengthy. Much of his statement focused on what he calls the conspiracy against him. He was adamant that he has been wronged, even pounding the podium at the very judge who was about to sentence him.
He told the court, "Everyone assumes I'm a liar and a bad guy and that ain't right." He repeatedly referred to himself as an officer of the court and said the real bad guys here are the FBI and the prosecutor, adding that, "America is broken. Critically, terminally broken," and that it has been hijacked by groups like the Anti-Defamation League.
During his address, Edgar Steele told the court of his love for Cyndi, calling her his soulmate and saying his heart leaps every time he sees her. Cyndi sobbed audibly in the court during her husband's address and stood up, crying, as the judge handed down the 50 year sentence.
Much of the sentence was pre-determined because of a law passed by congress; it sets a minimum of 30 years in prison for violent crimes committed with explosives.
After the sentencing, Cyndi Steele begged the US Marshals for one last moment with her husband before he was taken to prison. She was denied. Cyndi then went into the hallway of the federal courthouse yelling, accusing FBI agents and Asst. U.S. Attorney Traci Whelan of lying and setting up her husband. After court, she said she was not in the right state of mind to make a statement on camera, but told reporters as she left the courthouse, "He's innocent! It's wrong."
Of Steele's lengthy indictment of the government and the legal system, Whelan replied, "Mr. Steele says he was embarrassed to be a lawyer. I think people need to know it's an honorable job and the system is working the way it's supposed to." She added, "And, don't put pipe bombs on people's cars."
Steele now has 14 days to appeal his conviction. He plans to do so.
KXLY4's Rob Kauder contributed to this report
RELATED VIDEOS: Edgar Steele's Last Stand Edgar Steele Interview Part 1: Jail And Conviction Edgar Steele Interview Part 2: Taking Out Leaders Of The Movement Edgar Steele Interview Part 3: Corruption And Conspiracy Edgar Steele Interview Part 4: "Are You Guilty Of Anything?"
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