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Clarity in Neo-Nazi Stabbings at Ritz

I spoke a few moments ago with Manalapan Police Chief Clay Walker, who told me that the two stabbings that occurred at last night's speech by Hitler-loving historian David Irving occurred between two men who were attending the secretive event.

Walker told me that two men, 31-year-old Christopher Nachtman and 43-year-old John Kopko, first began arguing in a Ritz-Carlton conference room where Irving gave his speech. But their fight -- and the stabbings -- occurred just outside that conference room.

Walker says the organizers had booked the room under the name Local Point Publications, which is Irving's U.K.-based outfit. Despite efforts by activists to demonstrate at the speech, they did not learn of its location, and Walker says no protesters appeared at the Ritz.

Also, it appears that Irving's speech was never booked at the Palm Beach Airport Hilton, as activists believed. The hotel staffer who books catering and conference rooms says that the hotel received a number of calls from Irving supporters who apparently had been told in an email blast by Irving that the speech would be at that hotel. It may have been an effort to throw demonstrators off the scent.

I just received a phone call from Robert A. Lynn, an editor for Veterans Outlook Magazine, based in Orlando. An admirer of Irving, Lynn calls him a "pure military historian" and rejects labels of "fascist" and "neo-Nazi" that have followed Irving's career. Lynn, who says he had lunch with Irving last week, found him "intelligent, scholarly." He told me: "You have to make it clear that Mr. Irving had nothing to do with [the stabbings]. It was a spontaneous fight between two idiots."

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Thomas Francis

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