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Breaking News

Elian Gonzalez Custody Case: Appeals Court Ruling Imminent

Aired April 19, 2000 - 2:32 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We are on tinder hooks -- are -- as are the folks down in Little Havana today awaiting a ruling to be announced within moments by a federal appeals court here in Atlanta in considering the Miami relatives' request that Elian Gonzalez remain in the United States pending their appeal for the child to be granted an asylum hearing.

It was a few moments ago that we heard the decision has been made. We are going to have to wait another few moments before we know what that decision is. The court has been considering this for a number of days. And you just heard Greta Van Susteren going into all the great detail of what's at stake here.

But the U.S. attorney general, Janet Reno, who is on her way now to Oklahoma City to take part in the dedication of the memorial there to the victims and survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing five years ago today -- she was in Washington earlier today meeting with reporters in her weekly briefing and said all these delays are hurting Elian Gonzalez.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANET RENO, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Everyday that goes by in which Elian is not reunited with his father and this matter brought to a conclusion is -- can be disruptive and no child should be in that kind of nether-nether land for that long.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATERS: And both sides now are awaiting that federal court ruling here in Atlanta to be announced within moments on whether Elian must be returned to his father while the boy's asylum case is still being appealed.

Kate Snow is in Washington, she is outside the residence where Juan Miguel Gonzalez had been staying. Anything happening there, Kate?

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not a lot, Lou. Technically, I'm in Bethesda, Maryland, which is a suburban part of Washington, D.C. just outside the boundaries of Washington, D.C. This is where Juan Miguel Gonzalez has been staying for almost two weeks. It was two weeks ago tomorrow that he arrived here. He's been staying at the home of a Cuban diplomat. Now, we saw that diplomat arrive here, Mr. Fernando Ramirez (ph), a short time ago, about an hour and a half ago, and then we saw another diplomatic car leave just about 20 minutes ago. We couldn't get a clear view of who was in that car, just one single person. It could have been Mr. Ramirez.

The U.S. -- the Cuban interest section here in Washington, which is their sort of embassy here, says that Mr. Ramirez is coming back to the diplomatic mission, so it could have been him in that car, it could have been Juan Miguel Gonzalez. We just couldn't get a clear point of view. We have not seen Juan Miguel Gonzalez here since last night when he went out for dinner. So presumably, he is waiting word, as we are all -- Lou.

WATERS: And is there any way of knowing if Juan Miguel Gonzalez is aware that a decision has been made here in Atlanta and will be announced shortly?

SNOW: There's no way of knowing that. We have been told that he was scheduled to have a meeting at 3:30 Eastern Time, an hour from now, and we were told that it was possibly with his lawyer, Greg Craig, but that's all we know at this point -- Lou.

WATERS: All right, I'm sure Mr. Craig would inform Mr. Gonzalez if that's the case.

Kate Snow keeping watch in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, our nation's capital.

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