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Delay in SLA Case to Be Challenged

May 10, 2001

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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Prosecutors said Wednesday they will challenge an order delaying the trial for a former Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive.

But Sara Jane Olson’s attorneys argued they need the delay _ and perhaps more time _ because they now face charges themselves.

On Tuesday, an appeals court granted the delay until Sept. 4 after attorneys Shawn Chapman and J. Tony Serra said they needed more time to examine extensive evidence related to attempted-murder charges against Olson.

Then the lawyers learned that the city attorney’s office has charged them with misdemeanors involving release of addresses and phone numbers of two police witnesses _ and on Wednesday Chapman suggested the trial cannot proceed until the case against the lawyers is resolved.

The attorneys are to be arraigned May 17; an appeals court hearing on the prosecution’s challenge to the delay was set for June 22.

Outside court, Chapman alleged authorities were trying to interfere with Olson’s defense by prosecuting the attorneys.

District attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons called the allegations ``absurd,″ saying prosecutors were unaware of the city attorney’s action until after the charges were filed.

Olson, 54, is accused of attempting to murder Los Angeles police officers by planting bombs under police cars in 1975 in retaliation for the deaths of six SLA members in a fiery shootout in 1974. The bombs did not explode.

Indicted in 1976 under her former name, Kathleen Soliah, she remained a fugitive until her 1999 capture in St. Paul, Minn., where she had taken on her new name and was living as a doctor’s wife, mother and active community member.

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