|NMU||CALIFORNIA||Secret Courts||Mar 8, 2000|
Gag order in trial of fugitive extended
- A gag order placed on the participants in the trial of former Symbionese Liberation Army member Sara Jane Olson will remain in place indefinitely.
The Los Angeles judge presiding over the trial of former Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive Sara Jane Olson has indefinitely extended a gag order on trial participants at the request of the prosecution.
The Los Angeles Times reported that trial Judge James Ideman was convinced by the arguments advanced by prosecutors that Olson and her former attorney had violated the existing gag order when they made speeches at fund-raisers, claiming that the charges were brought against her because she is a political dissident.
“The only issue in this case is that a very powerful bomb was placed under a car in front of a crowded restaurant,” the Times quoted Ideman as saying. “To keep drumming on this red herring of a political agenda against dissent is a matter that would not be admissible in court and would only serve to inflame the jury pool.”
Prosecutors had contended in court filings that Olson’s former attorney had violated American Bar Association rules by commenting about witnesses, plea negotiations, evidence, the actual innocence of the accused and information clearly not admissible in the court proceeding.
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)
© 2000 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press