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John Walker Lindh Denied Bail

Aired February 6, 2002 - 11:32   ET

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


]THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: In Alexandria, not too far from the Pentagon, John Walker Lindh was in court today for a bail hearing. He was denied bail, but again, that hearing took place just about 90 minutes ago. Afterwards, there was talk about the e-mails, testimony, evidence given by the U.S. government that shows John Walker Lindh, they say, shows his contact with his mother through electronic e-mail over the past three years time. We will talk more about that with Susan Candiotti.

But first, we want to show you a quick soundbite from one of the lawyers representing John Walker, who is now requesting the U.S. government, and specifically the Attorney General John Ashcroft, not to talk publicly about this case.

Here's the attorney, and we'll come back here in a moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES BROSNAHAN, WALKER LINDH'S ATTORNEY: ... And district attorney's offices. I would most respectfully ask the attorney general of the United States, while this case is going on, while we were attempting to get a fair trial for a U.S. citizen, while the evidence unfolds, to refrain from further comment on the case.

And I would ask it nicely and respectfully. Secondly, I would say this: I think the American people probably want the attorney general to focus on those people who really did the harm to this nation. I think the American people probably want the attorney general -- and we know our people are doing the best we can -- to find Osama bin Laden, to find Omar and to find someone who sent the anthrax. We understand they are doing the best they can. And we are with them on that. We hope all of that is successful.

But meanwhile, I would ask the attorney general to not take it out on John Lindh. Because in my view, and I'm not going to take any questions, in my view, they have brought up the cannon to shoot the mouse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: John Walker Lindh's attorneys there talking outside the courthouse a short time ago. Susan Candiotti is with us now, and, Susan, certainly want to talk about the e-mails, the evidence that was presented today, but also will John Walker be back in court again next week for an arraignment, or at what point do we proceed forward on this legally.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The next legal step is a court appearance on Monday for his arraignment. At that time, he will be asked to enter a formal plea of guilty or not guilty. We presume it would be not guilty, given what the defense attorneys have today say.

And what this boiled down to today was really an effort by the defense to try to lay out part of its argument, that is that in their view, John Walker Lindh, they say, never intended to hurt any civilians or to fight against the U.S. military. They contend that the government has offered no evidence of that, that he intended to harm anyone.

Of course the government would beg to differ. And as part of that argument, they offered into evidence various e-mails, and also summations of statements that he made to the U.S. Military immediately after he was captured.

For example, he supposedly told the U.S. military that he wanted to be a martyr, and that he said that he was ordered after the attacks of September 11th, ordered by his superiors, to dig bunkers and get ready, because the American bombers would soon be coming.

And furthermore, the government offered into evidence by way of written motions various e-mails in which they assert that John Walker Lindh is not a loyal American, including one that was stated back on February 8th of 2001, in which he told his mother supposedly -- quote -- "I don't want to see America again." And another one, on February 5th of the year 2000, when he was trying to urge his mother to move from America to England, and he said to her -- quote -- I really don't know what your big attachment to America is all about. He allegedly added, what has America done for anybody.

Now the government offers these various e-mails as proof in their view that John Walker Lindh had essentially given up his loyalty to the United States, and had in fact received training from Al Qaeda, had received housing from them in safehouses, and had personally met with Osama bin Laden and received his thanks for participating in jihad and, the government states, swore his allegiance to jihad.

and the government finally added that he walked the walk and talked the talk of a terrorist -- Bill.

HEMMER: Susan, quickly on the other side, Walker's attorneys, did they give any indication what they may be arguing. There is one point that came out, perhaps a report an hour ago, that said he was fighting against the Northern Alliance and not the United States. Is that where they stake their defense?

CANDIOTTI: Yes, in part, that's what they will do. That's part of their argument that the government has presented no evidence that he was fighting America. In their view, John Walker Lindh was fighting with the Taliban and against the Northern Alliance, which the defense points out at one time, was a former enemy of the United States. So their argument is going to be, apparently, that John Walker Lindh had nothing against America, that he was simply taking up arms against the Northern Alliance.

HEMMER: Got it, Susan, thank you. Susan Candiotti, outside the courthouse there in Alexandria.

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