[sixties-l] Olson Outraged as Judge Admits SLA History Into Her Trial

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Thu Mar 01 2001 - 15:13:44 EST

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    Olson Outraged as Judge Admits SLA History Into Her Trial


    by Twila Decker, Los Angeles Times
    Saturday, February 24, 2001

    Los Angeles - Staunchly declaring her innocence, a shaken Sara Jane Olson
    said yesterday she was infuriated by a judge's decision to allow the
    criminal history of the Symbionese Liberation Army to be included as
    evidence in her upcoming trial on charges she conspired to kill two Los
    Angeles police officers in 1975.
    "I'm outraged at what has happened," a teary-eyed Olson said after the
    ruling. "I'm innocent. . . . This is a case in which they're trying to take
    away my freedom forever and destroy me and my family."
    Olson, 52, had hoped Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler would decide
    that details about crimes including two killings and the kidnapping of
    newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, none of which she has been charged with,
    would unfairly prejudice the jury. Fidler instead decided to allow evidence
    about the SLA, but said he would screen it first to be sure it was
    relevant. Her trial is scheduled to begin April 30.
    Yesterday's ruling, characterized by Olson's attorneys as the most
    important that will occur in the case, was the latest setback for the
    alleged former SLA member, who was arrested in July 1999 in St. Paul,
    Minn., after 24 years as a fugitive.
    Two weeks ago, the FBI and Sacramento Sheriff's Department announced they
    are reopening an investigation into allegations that Olson and other SLA
    members participated in a 1975 bank robbery in Carmichael in which Myrna
    Opsahl, a mother of four, was shot to death.
    The Los Angeles district attorney's office and Ospahl's family have been
    pushing Sacramento officials to reopen the case since Olson's arrest.
    Olson, who is married and has three daughters, denied yesterday that she
    took part in the fatal bank robbery in Sacramento County or in planting
    bombs under Los Angeles police cars. The bombs did not detonate.
    "I was not in Los Angeles. I did not place those bombs under those cars. I
    was not in the Carmichael bank. . . . I am innocent and I have a family
    that I have to keep together through all of this, and thank God, they're
    all very strong," Olson said.
    Olson, who changed her name from Kathleen Soliah while in hiding, also
    denies she was a member of the SLA. Prosecutors say she joined the SLA
    after six SLA members including her best friend were killed in a bloody
    shootout with Los Angeles police in 1974.

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