The first half of 2003 was a rocky time for the Creativity Movement, which has been struggling to cope with two related legal setbacks: the loss of a trademark lawsuit that has resulted in the group being stripped of the right to use its original name; and the arrest of its leader, Matt Hale, in January 2003 on charges that he solicited the murder of the federal judge who presided over the trademark trial. Hale's trial date is set for September 22, 2003.
With the arrest of Matt Hale, around whom most of the operations of the group centered, the Creativity Movement's main challenge has been to survive at all. Hale's ability to lead the group from jail has been limited at best, and some members have raised the question of whether the group should choose a new leader or "Pontifex Maximus"-an issue angrily quashed by Hale loyalists such as Virginia adherent John King, who stated that members "OWE it to this man, to stand behind him in this frivolous case brought by the Jewdicial system."
Other Creativity adherents suggested changing the very nature of the group. Pittsburgh adherent Hardy Lloyd announced in February that the days of "memberships and street rallies" were drawing to an end and that "the time of the LONE WOLF is drawing ever nearer." He proposed a new group, "Cobra Command," his answer to "infighting, arrests, disunity and information distribution." This "leaderless resistance" structure, with no real leader and no hierarchy, would presumably be less vulnerable to disruption or destruction.
Hale's own leadership efforts were significantly disrupted. In February, a federal judge ordered that Hale be denied bond, stating that he was a "danger to the community" and a "flight risk." Because Hale had been denied social visits, his efforts to lead his group were limited largely to sending out messages from jail to his followers. Even these efforts seemed in danger; Attorney General John Ashcroft ordered the invoking of "special administrative measures" that significantly reduce a defendant's ability to communicate with the outside world (measures imposed when the government believes that a jailed person could send information to "conspirators at large"). These measures included even monitoring Hale's conversations with his attorney; however, a judge overruled this particular provision in April, saying the restriction violated Hale's Sixth Amendment rights.
The Creativity Movement received another blow at the end of April, when Judge Joan Lefkow, presiding over the trademark case, ruled that the group had not been complying with court orders regarding trademarked materials and ordered that the group pay a $1,000 a day fine for each day it continued to use its old name. She also ordered the group's Web sites shut down until trademarked terms were removed and ordered the freezing of bank accounts held by the group or by one of its leaders, Thomas Kroenke. She authorized U.S. Marshals to seize materials containing trademark violations if the group does not turn over such items for destruction. Finally, she ordered the group to turn over its membership list.
The result of all these developments has left the Creativity Movement disrupted, with significant limitations on Matt Hale's ability to lead it, and on the group's ability to get out its racist and anti-Semitic message to followers through publications and Web sites.