The acquittal of white supremacist leaders on trial in Arkansas should help remove stigma from such groups in Utah and create more interest in them, according to the most visible white separatist leader in the state.

Dwight McCarthy, who leads the Fellowship of Christian Israel and was former regional head of the Aryan Nations Church in Utah, said, "I think this removes the stigma from white supremacist groups that the press has placed on them by saying they were indicted for treason."He added, "I think it will create interest in all the groups. I think a lot of people want to see the other side of the story. It's a good day for freedom of speech, whether you are black or white. If the government had gotten a conviction, it would have gone after black separatists, too, because it doesn't like what they teach either."

One of those acquitted was Aryan Nations leader Richard G. Butler, who had vowed to open a regional missionary center somewhere in Utah this spring. Although the Aryan Nations recently has refused to answer questions from the Deseret News, McCarthy its former leader in Utah said, "I'm sure they still plan to open a center here once they get back on their feet."

McCarthy left the Aryan Nations earlier this year to form his own group after a doctrinal dispute with Butler.