---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 14:57:24 -0800
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Judge Rules SLA Fugitive Plea Stands
Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2001
Judge Rules SLA Fugitive Plea Stands
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A judge let stand a guilty plea entered last week by
Sara Jane Olson after the former Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive
appeared in court again Tuesday to reaffirm her stand.
Olson pleaded guilty Oct. 31 to possessing bombs with intent to murder Los
Angeles police officers in 1975. But she later told reporters outside court
that she was innocent and only agreed to the plea bargain because the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks made it unlikely she would get a fair trial.
Her remarks prompted Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler to call
Tuesday's session to determine if the plea remains valid in light of her
public declarations of innocence.
"She is guilty as she has indicated under the concept of aiding and
abetting," Fidler declared Tuesday.
Olson, 54, was a fugitive for a quarter-century until her 1999 arrest in
St. Paul, Minn., on charges she tried to murder officers by planting bombs
under police cars to avenge the deaths of six SLA members in a 1974
shootout. The bombs didn't explode.
The plea deal that dropped three counts, including conspiracy, came after
the much-delayed trial had technically begun but before a jury had been
On Tuesday, the courtroom was jammed to capacity the unusual hearing with
Olson's mother and her 19-year-old daughter in the front row, along with
her many supporters.
The judge began by demanding that Olson decide if she wanted to reaffirm
her plea or continue to declare her innocence outside court.
"The guilty plea is not a waystation on the way to a press conference to
claim one's innocence," Fidler said. "She cannot have it both ways."
Olson arose in court and said, "I want to make it clear, your honor, I did
not make that bomb. I did not possess that bomb. I did not plant that bomb.
But under the concept of aiding and abetting I do plead guilty."
"Because you are guilty of the crimes?" the judge asked.
"Yes," she replied.
The judge said his only requirement was that Olson understand that she
could receive a life term if a parole board should decide to extend her
She said she understood it was not the present position of prosecutors that
she should receive such a dire sentence. Her lawyers have said she is
likely to receive five years and four months at her Dec. 7 sentencing.
"And you want your plea to stand?" the judge asked again. Olson again
hesitated, looked to her lawyers and shook her head affirmatively.
"Is that yes?" asked the judge.
"Yes," Olson replied.
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