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Physician and Companion Charged With Explosives Possession

May 30, 1985

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A physician and a female companion linked to the Weather Undergound remained in custody Wednesday, after turning their backs on a federal magistrate during a hearing on weapons charges.

Dr. Alan Berkman, 39, of New York, and Elizabeth Ann Duke, 44, of Austin, Texas, were arrested May 23, and charged with possessing guns and more than 100 pounds of explosives.

The pair remained seated when told to stand and continued standing when told to be seated before U.S. Magistrate Edwin E. Naythons during a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

When Naythons denied a request by defense attorney Susan Tipograph that shackles be removed from Berkman and Ms. Duke, the lawyer called the proceeding ″a mockery of justice.″

″We won’t participate under these circumstances,″ Berkman told the magistrate.

″You don’t have to participate. You just have to sit there,″ Naythons replied.

Ms. Duke and Berkman kept their backs to Naythons during much of the hearing.

The two were identified by the FBI as members of the May 19 Communist Movement, an offshoot of the Weather Underground.

They were charged with conspiracy, shipping or transporting explosives, receiving explosives, storing explosives, possessing five or more false identifications, receiving and possessing firearms and knowingly possessing stolen explosives.

Ms. Duke also was charged with harboring a fugitive.

Berkman had been sought since 1983 on a warrant charging him as an accessory in the Oct. 20, 1981, $1.6 million robbery of a Brink’s truck in Nanuet, N.Y., where one guard was killed. Two police officers also were shot to death at a nearby roadblock after the heist.

The doctor is accused of giving medical treatment to a suspect in the robbery, who authorities say shot herself accidentally.

Berkman also was sought in the September robbery of a grocery store in Cromwell, Conn.

FBI agent Gregory Auld testified that Berkman and Ms. Duke were in a car carrying loaded handguns and one shotgun when they were arrested.

On Friday night, FBI agents searched a garage rented by Ms. Duke and found more than 100 pounds of explosives, 130 electric blasting caps and 1,000 feet of detonation cord.

Auld testified that some of the explosives were part of a 900-pound lot stolen in 1980 from Austin, Texas.