KKK Leader David Duke's Home is Raided by Federal Agents

Cain Burdeau / AP 17nov00

MANDEVILLE, La. - Federal agents raided the home of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke yesterday, carting off boxes of documents and a rifle during a search that lasted more than seven hours.

FBI agent Sheila Thorne declined to disclose the nature of the investigation.

Roy Armstrong, who identified himself as Duke's bodyguard and a caretaker at the house, said agents told him they were looking into whether Duke was illegally using money raised for his new white-rights organization for his personal use.

''It's a fishing expedition,'' Armstrong said.

Duke's associates said that the 50-year-old former KKK leader and onetime state legislator was in Russia promoting a new book and that they had not been able to reach him.

His new organization is the National Organization for European American Rights, or NOFEAR. He began it in January, declaring that whites in the United States face ''massive discrimination'' at the hands of minorities.

Agents from the FBI, Internal Revenue Service, and the Postal Inspection Service took part in the search of Duke's home in a suburb of New Orleans. Agents carried out about a dozen boxes.

Armstrong showed reporters a copy of the search warrant, which sought a variety of financial and personal records, including gambling and travel records and direct mailings.

As for the rifle, Armstrong said agents told him they believed it was stolen. Armstrong said that he had never seen the gun before and that he did not know whether it belonged to Duke.

Duke appeared before a federal grand jury in New Orleans in 1999 as news broke that Governor Mike Foster had paid him more than $150,000 for a list of his supporters, supposedly for use during the 1995 governor's race. Duke had considered entering that race but ultimately stayed out of it.

The grand jury reportedly was seeking information on whether Duke paid taxes on the money.

It was not known if the raid on Duke's home had anything to do with that matter.

Foster ''hasn't spoken to the FBI,'' said the governor's spokeswoman, Marsanne Golsby. ''He doesn't know anything about it.''

Foster, a Republican, paid a $20,000 fine to the state Board of Ethics in connection with the list of supporters.

Duke spent years on the political fringe, first as a Klan leader with neo-Nazi sympathies, then as founder of the National Association for the Advancement of White People, which decried integration.

He was elected to the state House in 1989 as a Republican and ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate in 1990, polling 44 percent of the vote against Democratic Senator J. Bennett Johnston.

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