Late update 6:01 p.m.: The City of Baltimore has terminated its contract with Allen, the New York Daily News reported.
“None of the historical facts and alleged facts recently publicized about Mr. Allen’s political views and affiliations were disclosed or discussed when his contract was agreed to,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office said in a statement. “The Law Department does not as a general practice question it’s [sic] hired or contract attorneys about their political views.”
Original story below:
A lawyer recently hired by the city of Baltimore to defend police in a wrongful murder conviction suit has ties to a neo-Nazi group, according to an investigation from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) published on Wednesday.
Records obtained and published by the SPLC showed that Glen Keith Allen paid membership dues and gave a donation to the National Alliance as late as 2003. Allen also bought a DVD about Holocaust denial and attended a conference on the Holocaust held by the National Alliance in 2007, according to the SPLC.
The National Alliance was founded in 1970 by William Pierce, a white nationalist, and has since spawned offshoots including the National Vanguard and the Nationalist Coalition, according to to the Anti-Defamation League. The group believes “that the Aryan race is endowed by nature with superior qualities,” per the ADL. It also calls for “the eradication of the Jews and other races” and “the creation of an all-white homeland,” according to the SPLC’s description of the group.
Allen is also associated with the American Eagle Party, which the SPLC designates as a hate group. FEC records highlighted by SPLC show that Allen donated $950 to the party’s political committee from 2014-2015.
Allen did not respond Thursday to multiple requests for comment from TPM. He confirmed an Wednesday interview with the New York Daily News that he had been a member of National Alliance in the 1980s.
“I was in the U.S. Army from 1978 to 1982 and I had some pretty awful experiences with black people there, to be honest,” he told the Daily News while explaining why he became involved with the National Alliance.
But Allen claimed that he’d distanced himself from the group by the end of the 1980s. He told the newspaper that he does not remember the 2003 donation to the group reported by the SPLC and maintained that he wasn’t involved in the National Alliance at the time.
He told the Daily News that he did attend the 2007 Holocaust conference held by the National Alliance and helped the group find a lawyer a few years ago, but said that was his last contact with the neo-Nazi organization.
Allen also argued that his past association with the group does not impact his work as a lawyer.
“I have an unblemished record in 30 years of practicing law,” he told the Daily News. “I have the highest ethical standards and zealous representation of my client, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the city.”
When asked by the Daily News if he is a white supremacist, he said, “I do not think that supremacist is a proper characterization for people who take a degree of pride in their own separate histories.”
Allen recently represented the Baltimore Police Department in a lawsuit filed by a black man whose murder conviction had been thrown out. Sabein Burgess was convicted for murder and served 19 years in prison before being released in 2014 after another man confessed to the crime. In his lawsuit against the police department, Burgess alleged that police “withheld and fabricated evidence.”
The Baltimore City Law Department did not immediately respond Thursday to TPM’s request for comment.