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Rudolph arraignment set for Tuesday

Sources: Rifle found at campsite suspect might have used

Eric Robert Rudolph arrives at a jail Monday in Birmingham, Alabama.
Eric Robert Rudolph arrives at a jail Monday in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Law enforcement officials search the area around Murphy, North Carolina, for evidence.
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A look back at the Birmingham and Atlanta bombings.
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• Audio Slide Show: Eric Robert Rudolph captured 
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• Alabama indictment: U.S. v. Rudolph  (FindLaw, PDF)external link
• Georgia indictment: U.S. v. Rudolph  (FindLaw, PDF)external link

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (CNN) -- Olympics bombing suspect Eric Robert Rudolph will be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in federal court, one day after he was taken to Birmingham to face trial in a 1998 women's clinic bombing that killed an off-duty police officer and critically wounded a nurse.

U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin said authorities will be able to move forward in the prosecution of Rudolph, who had been on the run for five years before his capture in North Carolina last week.

"We are thankful Rudolph will now face justice in a court of law," Martin said in a written statement.

"For the widow of slain Birmingham Police Officer Robert 'Sande' Sanderson and Emily Lyons, a nurse who was severely injured by the blast, this is a day long awaited," the statement read.

Surrounded by guards and wearing orange Cherokee County jail garb -- but minus the bulletproof vest he wore in North Carolina after his arrest -- a handcuffed Rudolph stepped off a private jet and got into a red, unmarked car for transportation from the airport to the Jefferson County jail.

Rudolph is to be arraigned at 3 p.m. [4 p.m. EDT] Tuesday at the Hugo Black federal court building.

He emerged as a suspect after the Birmingham bombing when a witness spotted a man walking from the bomb scene, followed him and wrote down the license number of a 1989 Nissan pickup in which the man drove off. (Rudolph timeline)

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said Rudolph would be tried in Alabama before Atlanta, Georgia -- site of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing -- because doing so would "provide the best opportunity to bring justice to all of the victims of the bombings, and to each community that experienced these terrorist attacks."

He also said he expected the Birmingham trial to be "relatively short and straightforward," while the Atlanta prosecutions would be "more complicated."

Rudolph had biography of Gandhi

Rudolph, 36, appeared Monday at a 30-minute hearing before U.S. District Judge Lacy H. Thornburg in Asheville, North Carolina, 90 miles from the mountain town where he had been arrested just over 48 hours earlier.

Inside the courtroom, the former fugitive read along as Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Rose detailed the charges against him in four bombings between 1996 and 1998 that killed two people and injured dozens of others. They include the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, two at women's clinics -- one in Birmingham and one in suburban Atlanta -- and one blast at a lesbian nightclub in Atlanta. (Gallery: Rudolph's alleged crimes)

If convicted, Rudolph could face the death penalty. Ashcroft will decide whether prosecutors will seek that punishment.

The 100 people in the courtroom were hushed as Rudolph was led into the courtroom and quiet again when he was led out.

He answered respectfully when the judge asked whether he was Eric Robert Rudolph. Sean Devereux, an attorney appointed to make sure Rudolph had legal counsel, said the accused waived the right to plead guilty in North Carolina and accepted the transfer to Alabama. He could still choose to plead guilty.

Devereux said after the hearing that he had not asked Rudolph any details about the case.

"My job is to make sure that this man who is in a lot of trouble has access to an attorney," he said, adding that Rudolph was not guilty of the charges.

When asked if he thought Rudolph could get a fair trial, Devereux said he did, "if he's treated in Alabama or Georgia the way he was treated here."

Rudolph arrived at U.S. District Court in Asheville, having been flown by a National Guard helicopter the 90 miles from Murphy, the western North Carolina town where he had been held in jail since his arrest Saturday.

A handcuffed Rudolph left the Murphy jail wearing a bulletproof vest and orange prison jumpsuit. He sat between agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and FBI in the back seat of a sheriff's car as it sped to the Murphy airport.

Heavily armed police surrounded the court building in Asheville and took up posts on rooftops for Rudolph's first court appearance after five years on the run.

Speaking on the steps of the Asheville court building, Devereux told reporters: "[Rudolph] is a reflective individual, and he has a lot to think about. He is not an uncaring person.

"He has been portrayed as some sort of zealot, and he's not."

Devereux added that Rudolph had told police where "one or more" of his campsites were, and that among the reading material at one site was a biography of Gandhi.

Sources close to the investigation told CNN they found a semiautomatic assault rifle at a campsite where Rudolph is believed to have hidden out. The rifle has a range of about 200 yards, the sources said.

Fingerprint identification

Indictments against Rudolph were first issued in November 2000, charging him with a total of 23 counts. Four concerned the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, five related to the Atlanta abortion clinic attack, and nine to the gay nightclub.

Three more counts filed in Atlanta and two counts in Birmingham were related to the Birmingham clinic attack.

Rudolph was arrested by a 21-year-old rookie police officer, Jeffrey Scott Postell, who found the fugitive early Saturday hiding at the rear of a Save-a-Lot grocery store in Murphy.

Hours later, a fingerprint confirmed that the man was the accused bomber on the FBI's most-wanted list. Rudolph initially told police his name was Jerry Wilson.

Rudolph is believed to have escaped detection by hiding in the caves and mines of the thickly wooded western North Carolina mountains since 1998, when federal arrest warrants were issued for him. (A loner and survivalist)

Officials said Rudolph has told them he never left the Murphy area, and an FBI evidence response team has headed into the woods to look for further evidence.

-- CNN correspondents Mike Brooks in Murphy, North Carolina; Jason Bellini and Gary Tuchman in Asheville; senior producer Henry Schuster in Atlanta, Georgia and Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena in Washington contributed to this report.


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