Judge refuses cameras in trial of former SLA fugitive
Cites concern for Patty Hearst Shaw
January 11, 2000
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- The judge in the case of Sara Jane Olson, a long-time fugitive charged with crimes linked to the militant leftist group SLA, has ruled against cameras in the courtroom during her trial, which begins February 7.
Judge James Ideman also issued gag orders for attorneys, the defendant and all witnesses involved in the case.
The judge cited concern for the main witness, Patty Hearst Shaw, for not allowing cameras in the courtroom. Ideman said having her testify before cameras "would be like raping her all over again with everyone watching."
Hearst Shaw -- then known by her maiden name Patty Hearst -- was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in the 1970s, converted to their cause and later convicted of armed bank robbery.
Hearst a reluctant witness
She has claimed that she was raped and tortured during her captivity. Hearst Shaw has been subpoenaed by the prosecution in the Olson case and has said she does not want to testify.
Olson, also known as Kathleen Soliah, is charged with the attempted bombing of two police cars in 1975, allegedly to avenge the deaths of SLA members killed in a fiery police shootout. Neither of the bombs went off.
Olson remained a fugitive for nearly 25 years, living much of that time in Minnesota, where she was apprehended in 1999.
Olson: Camera influences attorneys, jurors
In his ruling on Monday, Judge Ideman also noted that he and many of his colleagues feel that a camera in the courtroom changes the way attorneys act and how jurors perceive a trial.
In addition, the judge ruled to admit the philosophy and history of the SLA and the crimes it committed, whether Olson was allegedly involved or not. He said the prosecution has to use that evidence to corroborate the testimony of Hearst Shaw.
The defense argued that admitting such a broad scope of evidence would unduly prejudice their client.
In further rulings, Judge Ideman said he would not admit the 1975 grand jury testimony of a witness who has since died, and refused to order a psychiatric exam of a former police officer who recently said he can identify Olson as the person who glared at him the night a pipe bomb was planted under his parked squad car.
Olson, who has pleaded not guilty, remains free on $1 million bail
Ex-70s radical Soliah freed on $1 million bail
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