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Gag order expanded in SLA bombing trial

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  1. Court Access

    NMU         CALIFORNIA         Secret Courts         Apr 12, 2000    

Gag order expanded in SLA bombing trial

  • A Los Angeles judge has moved to further curtail information that can be disclosed in the trial of Sara Jane Olson.

The Los Angeles judge presiding over the trial of former Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive Sara Jane Olson has enlarged the scope of an existing gag order on trial participants.

Judge James Ideman announced that his modified order “is not limited to any geographical boundaries given the reach of modern communications,” according to the Associated Press. The order forbids parties, lawyers and witnesses from communicating to anyone about “the character, credibility, criminal record or reputation of any party, attorney or witness.” The order also does not allow any statements concerning physical evidence, the relative strength of the prosecution and defenses arguments, opinions about Olson’s guilt, the plea that Olson will enter, opinions about inadmissible evidence and opinions about any order of the court, including the gag order itself.

According to the AP, the American Civil Liberties Union may attempt to intervene in the case and appeal Ideman’s ruling to the California state appellate courts.

Olson stands accused of putting bombs underneath two police cars in 1975 as part of an SLA plot to avenge the deaths of six SLA members who were killed in a shootout with Los Angeles police officers. Although she was indicted in 1976, she remained at large until her 1999 capture in Minnesota. She remains free on $1 million bail.

(California v. Olson)

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