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Olympic Bombing Suspect Pleads Not Guilty in Attack at Clinic

June 04, 2003|From Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Eric Robert Rudolph, the Olympic bombing suspect, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in a deadly bombing at a Birmingham abortion clinic.

Rudolph entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Putnam in the bombing of New Woman All Women Health Care, where an off-duty police officer was killed and a nurse critically injured on Jan. 29, 1998.

He could face the death penalty, but Assistant U.S. Atty. Michael Whisonant gave no indication whether the government will seek such a sentence.

The judge asked Rudolph whether he understood the possible penalties, to which Rudolph replied: "I do, Your Honor."

Outside court, defense lawyer Richard Jaffe said the public perception of Rudolph was "far from accurate."

"It's going to take some time ... to sort out the facts from the speculation and from the hearsay and from the public image that's been painted," Jaffe said.

The 36-year-old former soldier and survivalist is also accused in the 1996 Olympic park bombing in Atlanta, where a woman was killed and more than 100 were injured, and two 1997 bombings in Atlanta that rocked a gay-oriented bar and a building that housed an abortion clinic.

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