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Alleged would-be Bush assassin indicted

U.S. not seeking extradition in May incident

From Terry Frieden
CNN America Bureau

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Georgia
Justice Department
Trials
George W. Bush

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal grand jury in Washington Wednesday indicted a citizen of the Eastern European nation of Georgia for attempting to assassinate President Bush by lobbing a hand grenade in the vicinity of the president during a rally in the capital in May.

The two-count indictment charges Vladimir Arutinian, 27, of Tbilisi with attempting to kill the president, an offense that would carry a maximum life sentence upon conviction. He was also charged with a related weapons charge.

Arutinian was apprehended by Georgian authorities on July 20 after a shootout in which a Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs agent was killed. Arutinian was found in a nearby wooded area a short time later, officials said.

Arutinian is scheduled to go on trial in Georgia for the murder of Georgian agent Zurab Kvlividze.

The U.S. government currently is not seeking extradition of Arutinian, Justice Department officials said. However, they may choose to do so at a later time.

On May 10, the would-be assassin threw a grenade into a crowd about 65 feet from the stage where Bush had just begun speaking, but the grenade, wrapped in a plaid cloth, failed to detonate, authorities said.

Initial reports said the grenade was not live, but authorities later said it was.

The Justice Department and Secret Service issued a joint statement praising the government of Georgia for its "extraordinary cooperation" in the case.

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