FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT
REGARDING REMOVAL HEARING FOR ERIC ROBERT RUDOLPH:
Attorney General John Ashcroft released the following statement regarding the removal hearing for Eric Robert Rudolph, which is being held this morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in Asheville. Rudolph was an FBI Top Ten Most Wanted fugitive until his arrest on Saturday. On November 15, 2000, he was indicted in both the Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham) and the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta) on charges of committing bombings in those cities that killed two people and injured more than 150 others:
“On January 29, 1998, an off-duty Birmingham, Alabama police officer was killed and several others were seriously injured as a bomb ripped through the New Woman All Women Health Care Clinic.
“Less than two years earlier, in July 1996, a bomb exploded in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, killing a mother and injuring more than one hundred others. Atlanta fell victim to two more attacks in January and again in February 1997.
“In all, two people were killed and over 150 innocent people were injured in these attacks.
“For seven years, the FBI, ATF as well as state and local law enforcement from Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and several other states across the country have investigated and pursued the man who was charged with these crimes, Eric Robert Rudolph. They never yielded, they never stopped looking, they kept up the pressure and never gave up hope.
“Early Saturday morning, the search ended in the quiet town of Murphy, North Carolina as a young police officer and a deputy sheriff arrested and identified this fugitive who had disappeared into the North Carolina wilderness and eluded justice for so long.
“This morning the Department of Justice will ask the court in western North Carolina to remove Eric Robert Rudolph to the Northern District of Alabama to face trial for the Birmingham clinic bombing. We expect that trial to be relatively short and straightforward.
“When that trial is completed, Rudolph will be transferred to the Northern District of Georgia to face the more complicated trial involving the three bombings there. Our approach is designed to provide the best opportunity to bring justice to all of the victims of the bombings, and to each community that experienced these terrorist attacks.
“I want to again thank the many agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as all of the state and local law enforcement officers who worked diligently over several years to put together these cases and whose continued vigilance led to the arrest of this fugitive and the opportunity to bring him into a court of law to face the charges against him. I also want to thank the prosecutors in the Northern District of Georgia and the Northern District of Alabama, who have also worked hard on these cases from the beginning and will now have the opportunity to present to the public the evidence that has been gathered.”