---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 15:08:39 -0800
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Hearst Calls SLA Members Dangerous Radicals
AP. 23 January 2002.
Hearst Calls SLA Members Dangerous Radicals,
Promises to Testify Against Them.
LOS ANGELES -- Patricia Hearst said that Sara Jane Olson and members of
the Symbionese Liberation Army charged with murder in a 1975 bank
robbery were dedicated revolutionaries who had their "own little jihad"
The newspaper heiress who was kidnapped by the 1970s radical group and
later joined them told CNN's Larry King on Tuesday that she believed
Olson, Bill and Emily Harris, Michael Bortin and James Kilgore "wanted
to bring down the country," and she promised to testify against them.
"They wanted to overthrow the government of the United States. They
called themselves an army. They planned on forming cells and going on
until they started a full-scale war in this country," Hearst said.
At one point during the hour-long interview, she compared the SLA to the
bombers of the Oklahoma City Federal Building and the violent 1960s
Charles Manson cult.
She also used the word "jihad," or holy war.
"Charles Manson wanted to start a war too," she said, recalling how the
mass murderer had his followers scrawl words in blood at one of their
crime scenes hoping to trigger a race war.
Emily Harris' attorney, Stuart Hanlon, denounced Hearst's remarks,
saying she was trying to ensure his client and the others would not get
a fair trial.
"It seems that all she does is minimize her own actions and her own
responsibility," he said. "When you've lied for this long, the reality
has gotten lost."
Olson made a court appearance in Sacramento on Tuesday on a first-degree
murder charge, four days after she was sentenced to 20 years to life in
prison for attempting to blow up Los Angeles police cars.
"She is innocent, she is confident she will prevail," said Shawn Snider
Chapman, Olson's attorney. "She was not there."
Olson and the four other SLA members were charged last week with killing
Myrna Opsahl, a 42-year-old mother of four, during the April 21, 1975,
bank robbery in the Sacramento suburb of Carmichael.
Prosecutors have said much of their case will be based on testimony from
Hearst, who was kidnapped by the SLA and later joined them in several
bank robberies. She said she drove one of the getaway cars during the
Carmichael robbery, but she was granted immunity from prosecution as a
condition of her 1991 grand jury testimony.
She was convicted of armed bank robbery then and a judge sentenced her
to seven years in prison. She served about two years before President
Carter commuted her sentence.
Last year, President Clinton pardoned her.
Loyola University law professor Laurie Levinson said she was surprised
prosecutors allowed Hearst to do the interview because it risked
tainting a potential jury pool and gave defense attorneys a preview of
what Hearst will say in court.
Levinson also questioned how effective Hearst would be to the
"She's on a mission but that's going to be a real vulnerability on the
stand," she said. "Jurors don't necessarily want a witness on a mission.
They want a witness who tells the truth."
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