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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Olson Lawyer Leaves Case Because of Illness

May 05, 2000

LOS ANGELES — A key attorney who has represented former Symbionese Liberation Army sympathizer Sara Jane Olson since her arrest has left the case because of illness and is asking to be replaced by another high-profile defense lawyer.

Susan B. Jordan said she needs to withdraw from the defense team because of a serious medical condition known as trigeminal neuralgia, which causes her extreme pain in her face.

Her intended replacement is San Francisco attorney Tony Serra, whose clients have included Ellie Nesler, the woman convicted of voluntary manslaughter for gunning down her son's accused molester in a courtroom; and Bear Lincoln, charged with killing a sheriff's deputy in Mendocino County.

Olson is also being represented by Shawn Chapman, who worked on the O.J. Simpson trial.

Prosecutors contend that Olson, 53, took part in a 1975 plot to avenge the deaths of six fellow SLA members in a shootout with police by planting pipe bombs under officers' squad cars. Olson has pleaded not guilty.

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