The Rudolf Hearing

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07/04/2003

Asheville Federal Courthouse on Otis St., Asheville, North Carolina

Neighborhood: Across the River

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Our Asheville, North Carolina, correspondent went down to witness the hearing of Eric Rudolph, suspected of bombing abortion clinics and the Atlanta Olympics, who was finally caught after being on the FBI's most wanted list for five years. This is what he saw.

The courhouse building was light granite, grey. The scene was dominated by media and security. About 40 large satellite trucks formed walls on both sides of the street. The sidewalks were a tangle of cables and video equipment, making them impassable. The courthouse was surrounded by about 50 guards with M-16 and Mac-10 machine guns, plus about 20 police with ordinary pistols.

I was the only visibly pro-choice person there. I had two signs. One said "Long live Roe vs Wade." The other said "Only birth control can save the world."»

Three anti-choice picketers showed up for a while. The anti- choice signs said, "save the pre-born children" and "this is 'choice'"

The crowd of spectators reached about 50 at its peak around 11am, but they never outnumbered the reporters or guards. It was fairly calm throughout.

Near the tail end a young woman held one of my signs for a time. I informed her that if she held a sign the press would count 2 pro-choice people instead of one. She agreed and held a sign for a few minutes.

I was interviewed about 10 times and commented that if half this security had been devoted to the clinics, the entire scenario would have been prevented.

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